Local News

Fayetteville Housing Complex, Once Dangerous, Now One Of Safest Spots In City

Posted August 15, 2001 4:21 a.m. EDT

— A housing complex once known as one of the most dangerous areas of Fayetteville is now considered by police to be one of the safest.

Myra Williamson, 83, has lived at Grove View Terrace for 32 years.

"It's beautiful now but it used to be rough here," Williamson said.

A 1988 police surveillance video offers graphic proof. In broad daylight, armed people can be seen dealing drugs on the streets. Police would not go to Grove View without a backup.

If you are caught with drugs, there is now an automatic 72-hour eviction. In the last 10 years, police and the city made other changes as well.

A police substation, education programs, and tough new rules have been put in place.

"We are going to look at your background, check to see if you have felony crimes, and, if so, you are not going to move into Grove View," said Reginald Harvey of the Fayetteville police.

With the help of a neighborhood improvement team, crime at all public housing projects in the city has dropped by 75 percent in five years.

Shirley Harrison remembers when there were two or three shootings a week. There has not been a murder at Grove View in six years.

"I don't mind taking children to the park now, but I wouldn't have taken them then," Harrison said.

Police admit they have more work to do. Bandanas, often associated with gangs, are confiscated here often.

Police say other small improvements have also made a difference. There is no drinking outside apartments, there are more street lights, and they blocked off an entryway so people can only enter and leave from one place. They say that prevents a lot of drug dealing.