Jacksonville apartment complex forced to make changes to reduce crime, at risk of being shut down

Jacksonville apartment complex forced to make changes to reduce crime, at risk of being shut down

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – A Jacksonville apartment complex is at risk of being shut down after more than 2,000 calls to the police department.

Jacksonville Police Chief Brett Hibbs issued a notice to the owners of Willowbend Apartments earlier this month, giving them 90 days to make the necessary changes to reduce crime, or they would be at risk of being shut down.

“We get a lot of calls there, I would say on a daily basis,” Hibbs said.

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In a press release, Hibbs said the department has responded to 2,084 calls since 2022. He says half of those are considered ‘disturbances.’ This means officers were called there for fights, arguments between neighbors, or shots fired.

Prices average about $254 per call, costing the community more than $529,000 in taxpayer dollars.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Leigh Ann McDowell said after reading the notice.

McDowell said her husband’s car was found at the Willowbend Apartments days after it had been reported stolen.

The incident launched a personal investigation and McDowell said she called Jacksonville Code Enforcement asking for help.

“The reviews are horrible,” McDowell said. “I called Code Enforcement and they said there was something already in the works. That was six months ago.”

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Hibbs said the department’s Criminal Nuisance Board is giving the complex owners 90 days to implement 13 changes to reduce crime. Some of those include installing no trespassing signs, lowering the number of HUD vouchers it accepts, evicting problem tenants and cutting down trees in the front of the complex to make the area more visible.

“The problems that we’re having at these properties, a lot of it comes down to management,” Hibbs said.

Hibbs said the owners of the property have expressed an intent to file an appeal for the notice.

KARK 4 News tried reaching out to the owners but has not heard back, though their front desk did take a message.

“The kids that live there have to deal with not only the violence, but the shots fired and pretty much living in fear all the time,” Hibbs said.

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The notice was issued on May 6.

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