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Renovation project aims to curb crime at Miami Hills Apartments

South Bend, Ind.—

South Bend’s common council is hoping a facelift could turn around a crime-rattled apartment complex.

“The more that people can feel safe in their homes, less crime, makes a stronger city,” said Oliver Davis, common council vice president.

Monday, the common council passed a resolution supporting millions of dollars in investment in the Miami Hills apartments.

 BLVD Communities, the new owner of the property, says this is the first substantial renovation of the property since it opened in the 1970s.

It believes fixing it up could fix the area’s problem with crime.

“It’s unsafe, horrible, it’s unsafe,” said one neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous.

Crime is keeping her from renewing her lease.

She says her family is planning on moving before something bad happens to them.

“I’m tired, I’m ready to go,” she said.

That’s the case for quite a few folks living in Miami Hills.

More than a dozen said they see police at the complex far too often.

“Robberies, unwanted persons, assault, domestic violence issues, and when we get those calls, we go out there and respond to them,” said Ken Garcia of South Bend Police.

Police have also responded to quite a few homicides here over the years, including a deadly shooting in January.

But Monday the owner of the property and the city decided to take a shot making the complex safer.

“They have hired new managers that have been working with police, so there haven’t been any incidents since the first of the year,” said the project’s consultant Ann Mannix.

That new management will oversee a makeover worth nearly $14 million dollars in a federal bond.

“They’re getting new windows and new sidings,” said Mannix. “New heating, new kitchens, new baths, so it’ll be pretty substantial.”

The council gave its blessing to the property owner who is based on the west coast.

With so many problem properties owned by distant landlords, this council is glad to see this kind of investment being made.

“To see resources coming into that place, it’s going to be very strong for our economy and the people there and it’s going to be a win-win for everybody there,” said Davis.

If the bond is approved, renovations could start as early as next year.

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