WILKES-BARRE — People who live at Sherman Hills in Wilkes-Barre have seen their share of trouble.
Over the years, the housing development, made up of more than 340 units, has been the site of deadly shootings, drug busts and stabbings.
In August, a two-year-old girl and a five-year-old girl were shot after a fight between some men. Both survived.
Brahneir Walker lived at Sherman Hills. She moved out right after that shooting.
“I moved out of there in September, like right after the babies got shot because I have two daughters and when that happened, I was like, ‘No, uh uh. I can’t live here,” said Walker.
Wilkes-Barre City planning officials approved a plan Wednesday to make Sherman Hills a gated community, fencing it in and installing a guard booth that will be manned by an armed guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At another entrance on Parkview Circle, there will be an area for residents to be buzzed in by the guard.
Finally, there will be a locked entrance on Sherman Street that will only be accessible to emergency responders.
The question is, will these changes make Sherman Hills safer?
“I think it’s going to be a positive, a positive armed outcome when they gated it all up and have armed. It’s going to be a positive outcome because they are out of control,” said Walker.
“I think like a little bit of the crime will stop, but I don’t think a lot of it will because people just don’t care anymore. They really don’t and like from last year with the babies getting shot and everything, that was just too much. It all just needs to stop but I don’t think it will,” said Janessa Rice of Wilkes-Barre.
The changes will also mean no unregistered visitors for people living at Sherman Hills.
Visitors will also have to leave their vehicles in a lot outside the gated area.
City officials said folks at Park Management, who run Sherman Hills, already have contractors lined up and are looking to make the changes as soon as possible.
Newswatch 16 spoke with some folks staying with relatives at Sherman Hills.
They did not want to talk on camera but told us they hate the idea. They said it will make the place like a prison. Others disagreed.
“They have every freedom to go in and out. It’s not like they’re trapped or they’re prisoned in there, they can go in and out, but it will keep the outsiders out,” said Crystal Botello of Kingston.