MHA Cracks Down on Crime

In light of recent violence, the Meridian Housing Authority is cracking down even more on crime.

Housing authority officials and police met for the second day in a row Thursday to develop an even more effective strategy to address the problem.

"Public housing is safe in Meridian," said MHA
executive director, Ron Turner.

Turner says that's the bottom line. Four full-time Meridian police officers serve as liaisons for MHA. They patrol the agency's 9 sites throughout the week. Turner says the problem is not public housing residents.

MHA officials also say the recent crimes that have occurred in and around public housing sites have been random and because of that, they're hard to anticipate.

Furthermore, they stress that many of the perpetrators have not been residents, but instead, outsiders coming in wreaking havoc.

"These are individuals who have basically been banned from our property, but they still have come on our property," Turner said. "We're making plans to beef up our liaison security with the police department."

Currently the Meridian Housing Authority has 307 individuals on its 'Banned List.' Most of those are banned from the Eastern Gardens complex.

"We have some plans in place to look at the possibility of doing guard shacks and hopefully receiving funding so we can have somewhat gated communities to eliminate some of the traffic flow," said Turner.

In the meantime, Turner says it's important for MHA residents to report all information that they know about criminal activity on the property to city police.

"It's going to take everyone," said Turner.

Other proposals being considered to make public housing in Meridian more safe include: enhancing security lighting, increasing the number of police liaison officers, providing more enrichment programs for youth and implementing one-way streets in some areas.

MHA officials say when these and other proposals take effect will be determined by the agency's budget.