Residents call for cameras, more security at Quincy senior complex: 'There's a real issue'

Seniors at 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy Point are calling for increased security.
Seniors at 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy Point are calling for increased security.

QUINCY − Evelyn Cody and her fellow members of the 1000 Southern Artery Tenants' Association say they remember better days at Quincy's largest senior housing facility.

"We never even locked our doors," she said. "Now we barricade ourselves in."

Built between 1966 and 1972, 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy Point has 641 apartments in three eight-story buildings.

Richard Ash, former president of the Ward 2 Civic Association and a local attorney, said he started to receive calls in early January about security concerns at the property.

"There's a real issue with the quality of safety in the last few years," Ash said. "There's no security guard, no cameras. There have been break-ins to storage units, people piggybacking into the buildings without keys, visitors that stay, creating issues. People don't want to be in the halls or common rooms after sunset. It's pretty alarming."

Attorney Richard Ash is the former president of Quincy's Ward 2 Civic Association.
Attorney Richard Ash is the former president of Quincy's Ward 2 Civic Association.

Ash is helping tenants pressure the property's management company, ARCO, to resolve security concerns. He said 150 people attended a community meeting in March, including ARCO Vice President of Technology Kimberly Scott and Quincy police officer Steve Cleary. Scott did not return calls requesting comment for this article.

That meeting led to a list of verbal assurances. Ash said ARCO has promised to replace keys with fobs, add an intercom system and − what the tenants want most − install security cameras. There was also talk of an increased police presence and a pop-up desk for patrol officers.

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Ann McDonough, president of the tenants' association, said that in 2021 ARCO installed cameras after a spate of break-ins to storage lockers, which led to the identification and arrest of the thief. The break-ins stopped, but only temporarily.

ARCO removed the cameras and, since then, security issues and break-ins have returned, McDonough said.

Betty Michaud, a resident of 1000 Southern Artery's south tower, said she left a return package in the building's lobby to be picked up by FedEx.

"I was a nervous wreck all weekend," she said. "There should be a camera. I've already had a package stolen. Your nerves are on edge if you have a package."

The front lobby of a building at 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy.
The front lobby of a building at 1000 Southern Artery in Quincy.

Tenants want cameras throughout the buildings and in the parking lots. Marie Manupelli said she has encountered drug deals in the parking lots, which she describes as "off the beaten path" and "not monitored."

Manupelli said that, in 2015, a group called the 1000 Southern Artery Renewal Development Limited Partnership bought the property for $70.6 million. The new owners accepted money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which came with new restrictions and guidelines.

For example, the property can no longer lease exclusively to tenants over 62 years old, and now must accept tenants with disabilities. Manupelli said the change has caused new security concerns that have not been adequately addressed.

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"I don't like going in the stairwell," she said. Even a visit to the restrooms causes anxiety, she said.

"We don't go in unless somebody comes in with us," she said.

Despite the safety issues, members of the tenants' association feel a strong connection to each other and their home. McDonough, the association's president, boasted of the property's dining room, on-site hairdresser and full calendar of activities organized by the 1000 Southern Artery Senior Center, which residents can join free of charge.

"If you can keep it safe, it's one of the best places to live," McDonough said.

That's what Ash and the tenants' organization are working to achieve.

"I know it's going to take a while," Ash said of the cameras.

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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Is 1000 Southern Artery a safe place to live in Quincy? Seniors say no