Homeowners association silent as crime increases in Riverfront

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is digging deeper into a high number of crime reports in a Suffolk community, where almost everyone is surprised it’s so high.

Our investigation started last week, after an elderly man returned home Thursday and found burglars inside his house on Summerhouse Drive. Police say, when the homeowner confronted the burglars, they shot him.

This happened in the Riverfront neighborhood in Harbour View. 10 On Your Side contacted the homeowners association, but no one there would talk to us.

Neighbor Robert Jones said he knows all to well the violation of a home burglary.

“There was furniture all over the place, drawers were pulled out,” Jones remembered.

Last September suspects broke into his house by breaking down a door.

“I feel very violated, ever since it happened,” Jones said. “We think differently on a daily basis now. We around here [who are] just driving through the neighborhood, we need to see what is going on. We need to try and communicate with other people that they need to do the same,” Jones said.

And there’s good reason for communicating with others. 10 On Your Side asked Suffolk police for serious crime statistics in the Riverfront community for the months of January through May in both 2014 and 2015.

  • Simple Assault: four in 2014 and five in 2015
  • Burglary: three in 2014 and five in 2015
  • Car Theft: None in 2014 and one in 2015

There were seven total crimes last year and 11 this year, which is an increase of 57 percent.

Jones was a little surprised by those statistics. “I knew there was some activity going on. I think one of the challenges we have is getting the word out that this [crime] is happening this much,” he said.

Suffolk police say officer patrols have been increased after last Thursday’s burglary. The victim survived after being shot during that incident. Now, Jones thinks residents can help make sure no one in their neighborhood faces another similar threat.

“I am still concerned with the number of incidents that are going up … I think we need neighborhood watch. I think we need to get with the homeowners association and come up with a plan for neighborhood watch,” Jones said.

WAVY.com asked Suffolk police how to get in touch with the neighborhood’s homeowners association, and we were told to contact United Property Associates. When we called that company and told a receptionist we were WAVY News, she abruptly said, “No Comment,” and hung up before learning what we were calling about.

WAVY.com then physically went to United Property Associates Suffolk office with our crime statistics from police. An employee gave us the same welcome: “We have no comment … turn the cameras off.”

Jones sums the whole situation up this way: “It is very concerning. When we moved into this neighborhood, that thought [of being a crime victim] never entered our mind.”

Here’s some good news for Jones: he will be in court June 18 to face the man accused of stealing his family’s belongings. Their jewelry was found at a local pawn shop and traced back to the suspect. The suspect faces years in prison.

Suffolk police say they are unsure if the crimes in Riverfront are related to each other.

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