How one Hillyard apartment complex has redefined itself
SPOKANE, Wash. — Today Regal Arms apartments in Hillyard is a far cry from what it was just a few years ago.
“We had a lot of drugs and stuff going on here,” said community manager, Susan Prindiville.
Just three years ago, she says having a car stolen out of the parking lot wasn’t all that uncommon and the place’s reputation wasn’t a good one.
“I had a resident once tell me, why are you worrying about what we are doing,” said Prindiville, “we live in a ghetto. I took that home with and thought about it all night.”
But then Prindiville entered the picture and earned herself the nickname, the ‘Pitbull with Lipstick” because she was nice but tough in her efforts to turn around the apartment complex.
“Regal arms used to be a very hard place to live,” she said, “but its not anymore.”
She signed the low-income apartment complex up for the C.O.P.S Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, which is funded by the Spokane Police Department and the City of Spokane.
“Just because you are in a lower income bracket, that doesn’t mean you aren’t the same type of people that are living in the $50-60,000 income bracket,” she said.
And so began the property’s new lease on life.
“We made the apartments so nice that it wasn’t a safe haven for folks who didn’t want to live in a good home,” said Prindville.
As part of the police supported program, a designated officer began making the rounds around the apartment complex and reaching out to the residents developing contacts and establishing relationships.
“It works because they know me and they trust me,” said Scott Hice, a Neighborhood Action Resource Officer, “they might have been a little wary of police, to begin with.”
From there a number of arrests were made and the area began to get a little safer, but the transformation didn’t end there. Prindville says she took all the legal steps required to evict a number of nuisance residents. She says five were forcefully evicted and four others chose to leave.
Through her hard work, and through the willingness of the complex’s residents to change the area’s reputation police have seen a notable improvement.
“Calls for service out of this complex have gone from about 22-25 a month to about 2 or 3,” said Hice.
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