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Raleigh Plans to Fight Crime with Renovation

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RALEIGH — Public housing exists to provide housing to people who have trouble affording a home of their own, but it ishousing something else as well -- crime.

More than 1,000 calls came in toRaleigh police from Halifax Court in the last year even with 8 officerson duty around the clock. Those calls represented 226 violent crimes and138 drug and vandalism charges.

Some say overcrowding is the root of the problem, but city leaders havea new plan they hope will drive crime out.

The plan would take the 60-year-old public housing facility andreplace it with single-family homes housing fewer people.

Resident Tracey Barnes says she thinks the old apartments need to comedown.

The plan would create cleaner, safer places to live. Raleigh HousingAuthority director Steve Beam says fewer people means fewer crimes.

Getting rid of all the negatives sounds like a step in the rightdirection, but some people in Halifax Court are concerned. Sharon Personsays many people are very settled in the project.

Beam says public housing was never intended as a place for people tosettle down, but was meant to provide temporary housing until people couldget on their feet.

The problem arises when you consider that 760 people living in HalifaxCourt will have to find a new place to live if the development is torndown. It's happened before.

Almost three years ago, the public housing authority emptied DandridgeDowns. Beam says residents got vouchers to pay for half or all of their rent at other complexes. He says the turnover rate in public housing isanother factor.

The future of the plan hinges on the housing authority obtaining afederal grant. The application for that grant will be filed by Friday.

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