[Mary Beth Nolan]
Jorrell Lowery, 37, said he has lived in the complex for a few years. He said residents were told by management that outside door locks would be changed soon and that they will get new keys, but he knows residents leave the outside door propped open sometimes for visitors or because they don’t want to pay for a copy of an outside door key.
“I want to be able to go out looking for a job and not be worried about home,” Jorrell Lowery said.
Ridgebrook residents said they are only able to enter the building from one entrance out of four in the building after the fires. They said there has been security at building entrances around the clock requiring residents and visitors to sign in upon entry.
Watkins said he had to walk all the way around the building to take out the trash after Wednesday’s fire because of the new security measures.
“But it’s worth it,” Watkins said. “Knowing my kids are safe, it’s worth it.”
Lowery, the DeKalb police chief, also said in a written statement Saturday that it’s important for rental property owners to do whatever they can to ensure the safety of their tenants, including having a functional video camera system, appropriate fire control and alarm systems, a structurally safe environment and to cooperate with local authorities.
The building at 808 Ridge Drive, which has studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom apartments, is equipped with a security camera system, “but the system has been inoperable since the property was acquired by Hunter Properties,” according to the release. The city has requested that Hunter Properties reactivate the cameras, and install cameras at its other properties in the city.
Hunter Properties will implement security cameras at 808 Ridge Drive within the next several days, according to the police news release. Management and staff from the property company declined to comment Sunday.
Anyone with information pertinent to this investigation is asked to call the DeKalb Police Department at 815-748-8400 or Crime Stoppers at 815-895-3272, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward if information provided leads to an arrest.