Marion County authorities help Ocala apartment complex curb crime

By Sarah Panko, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018, 5:26 PM EST

Authorities say a Marion County apartment complex, plagued with criminal activity, has agreed to make changes to improve security.

  • Ocala apt. complex agrees to improve security
  • Police say they've had more than 2,000 calls from complex
  • Mayor, police chief to help complex  

Two weeks ago, Parkside Garden Apartments in Ocala was the scene of a fatal shooting; a day later, six people were arrested on weapons and drug charges.

Since last year, Ocala Police said they have had more than 2,000 calls from the complex.

"When it's a crisis, everybody's panic mode and everybody wants to solve the problem, but it took someone getting killed to get their attention," said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.

On Wednesday, Ocala's Mayor and the Ocala Police Chief met with CHP or Community Housing Partner, which owns the complex.

The mayor said the owners have agreed to multiple changes, including increased lighting, adding additional cameras, improve fencing, a criminal history check on new residents and a strict eviction program.

"Tell everybody here are the rules you need to abide by them, if you don't abide by them you're going to be evicted," said Guinn.

The mayor said code enforcement found other problems, including rodent infestation, plumbing and electrical issues.

There are also 10 stairwells currently closed because they need repairs.

The mayor said there will be weekly conference calls.

"This is not a temporary fix, this is permanent. We're going to be out there, we're going continue to do this. We're not going away," said Guinn.

The mayor said if the changes aren't made, he can ask the Department of Housing and Urban Development to cut their funding.