WILES-BARRE – Mayor Tom Leighton responded to claims made by the owners of Sherman Hills, five days after Newswatch 16 traveled to Brooklyn, New York City.
A property manager with Park Management Incorporated told Newswatch 16 last week that Sherman Hills is not the root of violent crimes in Wilkes-Barre, including deadly shootings and drug arrests.
At a press conference for naming rights to an athletic complex in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday afternoon, Newswatch 16 asked Leighton about the statements made by the property manager during an off-camera interview.
Leighton said that he has not seen evidence that the owners of Sherman Hills have followed through with promises to add security camera, keep track of visitors or put permit stickers on tenants’ cars.
“The public wants me to just to go up and shut that down. This is not a public housing authority run property. The city of Wilkes-Barre has no input here, it`s a private residential complex,” said Leighton. “Again, if they`re doing that, that`s great, but they should share that information with us. We`d like to see who is coming and going; if they`re writing down the license plates of the cars that are coming and going, I’m sure our police department would love to see who is going in and out of there on a daily basis.”
One city resident who live near Sherman Hills told Newswatch 16 that she is waiting to see more safety changes at the troubles low-income housing complex.
“They're bringing in the people from New York and Jersey into our hometown here, selling drugs out of our places,” said Gloria Hezel.
Charles Flemming of Luzerne Borough said he believes that the owners of Sherman Hills and city administrators share some of the blame for the violent crime in the Diamond City.
“It`s the owners in New York, but it's these people who are allowed to come in and leave quickly,” said Flemming. “We can't really control that, because there is not a law against owning property and living somewhere else.”
The property manager at Park Management Incorporated told Newswatch 16 by phone that he stands by his statements about safety precautions being implemented at Sherman Hills.