Some apartment complexes in Murfreesboro seem to be 100% on board with making their landscapes safer for students of MTSU and their residents. Gateway Apartments at this point, is the only complex to send out a press release discussing their new safety plans.
Camp Properties LLC, owners - and Angie Joyner, Director of Property Management for Gateway apartments are proactively working to increase awareness and keep their residents feeling safe. "Our most important priority is the safety and well-being of our residents and their families. There is nothing more important!" says Joyner.
Gateway Apartments, located on Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro, Tenn., was the site of a fatal shooting last week when eighteen year old Kendrick Love was robbed and killed. Love was not a resident at Gateway apartments, nor were the persons who were responsible for the shooting. Three persons have been charged and arrested for the shooting, two of which were juveniles.
Joyner continues, "First and foremost, our hearts and prayers are with the family of Kendrick Love. We've not experienced an incident of this magnitude on any of our properties, during our ownership and management. We have always worked to keep our residents safe and today we are taking even greater strides to keep our residents safe. As of yesterday morning, we've engaged uniformed, off duty Murfreesboro police officers to randomly patrol all of our communities daily, including Gateway Apartments. In the recent past at Gateway we've added a seven-foot privacy fence around the majority of the property and are working to implement a "residentonly" key-card system for the back exit of the property. There is an established lighting plan, a courtesy officer does live on site and other safety features are being put in place."
Eric Drake, who lives at Gateway apartments with his family, says that in the four years he has lived there he has found the property homey and the management trustworthy. "I am the father of two children and I don't settle for anything less than what I feel comfortable with my children having or being in. And since I've been there I feel great about us being safe and so forth. And the management staff is really caring and friendly. I've actually instructed my children that if they ever have any kind of problems at our apartment that they are to report to the office of the apartment complex because that's how much I trust the management there. And I've never seen anything that was a resident-related problem at our complex," Drake concludes.
Clay Beach of Miller Loughery Beach and longtime resident of Murfreesboro remarks, "I think this [shooting] could have happened anywhere. The area [where Gateway is] has never been a crime-heavy area to my knowledge, and I've been here all my life. But we all know towns grow, populations grow, and with that kind of growth I'd dare say that might have something to do with the crime that we're seeing. Camp Properties and Gateway have put a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of thought into making their apartment housing really nice. And I don't think you or I or anybody could control who's going to come on your property for all activities. There are a lot of apartment communities around MTSU but I think with the upgrading of those [apartments like Gateway] and all they're working to do - it is certainly a betterment for the community. It raises the bar, is what I'm trying to say."
On Tuesday, May 16, Mayor Shane McFarland met with a group of twelve student-housing apartment managers to start the conversation reminding all apartment managers to do everything possible to protect their residents. Joyner notes, "Some of the ideas mentioned in that meeting were very good. However, some of the ideas cannot be put into action due to requirements of State and Federal law. We all must do all we can, while applying these laws and regulations."
Murfreesboro city officials are also working to increase safety and have expressed a desire to implement a program for apartment communities to attain certification by complying with certain guidelines. Says Joyner, "We offer ourselves, our owners and managers, in efforts to establish these guidelines."