RALEIGH, N.C. — Gunfire, shootings and graffiti are signs of a neighborhood gone bad. Residents of a Raleigh community say it is happening to them and now the police are investigating.
The problems are centered in the Pleasant Ridge and Ramsgate communities, located just south of the beltline near Lake Wheeler Road. Homeowners say gangs have marked their territory and the sound of gunfire has residents running to the city council for help.
"Our neighborhood is nice and quiet and people know each other," resident Jason Hibbets said.
The peace is being pierced by bullets. In the last few weeks, residents say gunfire has become all too common.
"While I was on the phone with 911 there were five gunshots, and while I was talking to the 911 person there was another gunshot," Hibbetts said. "It was very loud and it sounded like it was in my driveway."
The sense of community is being replaced by a sense of fear.
"We feel our neighborhood has gone down and we don't feel safe," resident Jeannie Inskeep said.
Hibbets says one couple has already moved out and he may be next.
"It's very scary. My wife wants to move. I don't want to move, but [we will] if it comes down to it," he said.
Residents say the community has had its problems in recent years.
"Just in the last few years we've had vandalism and break-ins and things like that," Inskeep said.
The neighborhood Community Watch has taken its complaints to the city council and Raleigh police are taking notice.
"We're very concerned about it," said Capt. Dennis Poteat of the Raleigh Police Department. "It's a serious issue when shots are fired. It's a step closer to someone getting hurt or a homicide."
Last week, police say a 17-year-old shot another teen in the back in the neighborhood.
Detectives will not say if the shooting was gang related, but residents are worried it all adds up to an unsafe neighborhood.