Residents at Colony Apartments speak out about conditions and safety concerns at complex

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Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 8:36 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - WIS is continuing to follow several issues reported at the Colony Apartments. Residents living without heat or water during some of the coldest temperatures reported in the state. That’s on top of the concerns about crime in the area. Just yesterday 23-year-old, Miasia T. James was shot and killed outside of the complex.

“It ain’t even safe for the kids to come out here and play,” said Auzerria Johnson, a resident at Colony Apartments.

“We don’t feel like this was random. It was targeted,” said Chief W.H. Skip Holbrook.

The Columbia Police Department responded to the shooting and while on the scene several tenants notified law enforcement that they were living without water and heat.

“Almost about two or three days now,” said Isaiah Parker another resident at the Colony Apartments. “I mean it’s been a little bit of a rough situation because I’m not able to go work or anything like I want to go because I’m not clean, I’m not washing,” he added.

Isaiah Parker has been living at the Colony Apartments for six years. He says since the heat has been out, he and many of his neighbors have been leaving their ovens open to keep warm.

Parker is one of many tenants that want to find somewhere else to live not only because of the conditions but also the lack of safety. Data from the Columbia Police Department breaks down the number of crimes that the agency responded to within the past two years.

In 2021 there were 32 reports of violent crimes that includes homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, and robberies. In 2022, there were 45 reports bringing the total number to 77 reports in the last two years.

Shot spotter, a gunshot detection system used by CPD, recorded nearly 500 shots fired within the apartment complex in 2022.

“My kids, my girls, we stay beside the park, and we barely ever go over there like that, because the kids doing the cussing and the fighting. We just stay in the house,” said another resident who did not want to be identified.

“When it’s gone be over? When is everything going to be straight? Like when we are not going to have to worry about little different things. Like, somebody just got shot over here the other day and now we don’t have no heat and no water. When is it going to be over,” asked Parker.

Perry Bradley with Building Better Communities, an organization that provides food and other essentials to people living in the complex, says there’s a direct correlation between the lack of resources there and the ongoing crime.

“When people don’t have the resources needed to be successful. What do you want them to do? People don’t go out here saying, I just want to rob people for the fun of it. No, we need to eat it, we need to pay the light bill, we need to keep the heat on,” said Bradley.

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