In four separate incidents late last year, some person or persons attacked four women at Richland Trace Condominiums on Walnut Street at the north edge of Lake Highlands. Police have yet to solve the crimes.
But the assaults did prompt residents to reconsider their home lives in Richland Trace, which management claims is the largest condominium complex in Texas.
“There hasn’t really been a sense of community,” says manager Pat Norton. “That’s what we’re trying to regain. Up until now, it’s been, basically, get up, go to work, come home and watch TV.”
Richland Trace resident Larry Scott, who at management’s request led the effort to revive Crime Watch, says he wants residents to learn who their neighbors are.
“Our motto is going to be ‘family,’” he says. We’re trying to create a family unit on the property where everyone becomes a member of the family and we look out for each other.
“Crime Watch was something we had a while back,” says Scott, 37, who owns an auto detailing business and lives with his wife and two sons at Richland Trace.
“But it sort of disbanded as members became relaxed. We were able to reactivate Crime Watch when the problems arose and everyone became terrified and afraid.”
This is the time to act, says Officer Vickie Snow, director of Apartment Crime Watch at the Northeast police bureau. “Right now, everybody’s attention is real focused. The residents have a problem and they have to work together,” she says.
Scott is petitioning management to sponsor regular activities at the complex’s clubhouse, such as aerobics, self-defense classes, card games and a coffee bar.
Crime Watch, still in an organizational stage, meets every Tuesday. Residents can call an “FYI” voice mail line for information, and have signed partnership agreements with their immediate neighbors. Scott is also distributing applications for the police department’s Volunteers in Patrol (VIP) civilian policing program.
“My concept is you got to give your tenants something to protect, something to feel good about,” Scott says. “Once they have that, they become protective. Home is not just a place to sleep anymore.”
“Crime Watch just has to be a group effort. You’ve got to be serious and sincere. Dare to be nosy. That’s the key. We want nosy people.”