MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The PepperTree Apartments in Whitehaven, which has been the scene of many shootings and robberies, won't be taking any new tenants.
The Shelby County District Attorney General's Office announced Tuesday a public nuisance petition was granted against the apartment complex.
This puts a ban on any new leases at the complex, where the D.A. said police have responded to more than 1,500 calls for service over the past 20 months.
The petition said the PepperTree is the site of active drug trafficking and violent crimes involving tenants and non-tenants, creating “a dangerous and violent atmosphere that poses a clear danger to the tenants and surrounding community at large.”
People who currently live there said they can't sit outside for fear they could be the next victim.
"People are shooting right outside, right in front of our kids," tenant Benautica Lee said.
Many of these tenants, like Connie Huddleston, are on a fixed income and can't afford to move elsewhere. Huddleston worries she'll be homeless once her lease is up, but she's tired of the violence.
"It’s not worth it, but I have to live where I have to live," Huddleston said.
Lee, who's lived there for three years, said the crime isn't the only problem. She said her unit has mouse holes, a leaky sink, and a broken wall.
"All types of little stuff," Lee said. "I started putting stuff down but it’s not like I’m going to be able to keep them out, but I try my best. I haven’t started getting a roach problem until this year."
Lee believes the tenants who haven't caused any issues shouldn't be forced out of their homes.
"Most of the people that starting a lot of stuff don’t stay over here, so it’s not the people that stay over here it’s the people that come over here,' Lee said.
The City of Memphis is working with Housing and Community Development, Memphis Housing Authority, Shelby County Community Services Agency to help these people find new homes.
More information on this assistance will be available next week.