Raleigh apartment residents fume over management's curfew

(WTVD photo)

RALEIGH - As dusk settled on these east Raleigh apartments, children laughed and played; but it's what happens here after nightfall that fueled last week's flier from management at Raleigh North Milbank Court.

Every resident received notice about a new 10 p.m. curfew.

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Katherine Seaberry, a mom and a tenant here, took it as a slap in the face. "We're not all criminals," Seaberry said. "Just because our skin is black, we're not all criminals. You don't have to deal with us all the same way."

In its message to residents, apartment management says it has partnered with Raleigh police to "take back our community." The landlord has given Raleigh PD permission to trespass on the private property and arrest anyone not on a lease or with a tenant. The strict new measures come as a response to recent shootings, drug, and gang activity. "I don't believe that we should all have to go in the house over some gang violence," said resident Tonya Smith. "I'm not in a gang; why should I have to go in the house?" Seaberry added: "This is our community, we shouldn't be forced to into our homes when we could be out relaxing, hanging out, having a good time; it's summer time." Community advocate Diana Powell is concerned the amped-up police presence will only worsen an already tense relationship between the community and police. "There's some deep-rooted issues," Powell said. To be sure, police are here a lot - 1,539 calls for service in this neighborhood within the last year. "Yes, we're saying we recognize there is a problem," Powell said. "It's a double-edge sword, because yes we want to get the bad out; but, as you sway that sword, that sword has got to come back and could hit the good." In a statement to WTVD, the Raleigh Police Department acknowledged its partnership with the apartment management, but clarified its level of enforcement power. "The RPD cannot legally enforce curfews on private property; however, we do engage in collaborative problem-solving in an effort to enhance the quality of life for neighborhood residents," said RPD spokesperson Laura Hourigan. "Through our robust community policing efforts, we routinely partner with apartment complexes, businesses and communities throughout the city to address quality-of-life issues as well as criminal activity." Meantime, apartment management seems to be trying to ease community fears. Residents have received a new flier this week calling for a community meeting next Tuesday to answer all questions and concerns.

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