NBC 15 investigates crime-stricken housing units in Oakleigh Garden District

(WPMI) NBC 15 investigates crime smitten housing units in Oakleigh Garden District
(WPMI) NBC 15 investigates crime smitten housing units in Oakleigh Garden District

This NBC 15 Reality Check dives deeper into a problem property we've reported on for months.

Fed up neighbors called our Reality Check hotline pleading for help.

Mobile police and Fire-Rescue have responded more than 100 times in the past year to the three neighboring rooming houses on Broad Street near Augusta in the Oakleigh Garden District.

NBC 15's Rachael Wilkerson is investigating the problems and why these houses are still in business.

The man who used to own these properties got into so much trouble the city pulled his business license, but he sold these houses to a new owner.

"That place needs to be gone and we need some help with this," said a concerned resident.

The problems at 259, 261 and 263 S. Broad Street are well documented.

A shooting in May that injured one man and hit a neighbor's house with gunfire and the bribery of a fire inspector allegedly committed by the previous owner Dharam Pannu.

The city pulled his license in September, but again today NBC 15 witnessed people coming out of these three same three buildings.

"You are renting? Yeah, everybody but one. We've been here since they did the condemning and we are not going anywhere," said a tenant.

That's because Pannu sold all three buildings in September to Randall Pitre for more than $450,000.

Imogene Craig lives here. She says since the new management it's gotten better, but still has its problems.

"They do come in and out. Last night, in the back we seen some women. The women were talking about some crack. I said what?" said Craig.

Monday, we tried asking the owner, Mr. Pitre, what's being done to clean up the problems here.

We even had a current tenant call him.

"Alright I'll tell her you are going to get in contact with her," she said.

Residents who did not want to be identified say they were hopeful the properties would be shut down for good.

"Me and the neighbors have been working so hard to try and get this place closed down because of the violence and the city gave this new owner a business license to run this place the same way it was being ran," he said.

Rachael: "Is there a high drug activity around this area?"

Imogene: "It has been. It has been. I seen it for myself."

Craig admits there's trouble all around.

Just in the last three months, MPD has responded to 62 calls at 263 S. Broad Street.

These calls involve suspicious activity, disorderly conduct, domestic violence and a robbery.

A victim also told Mobile Police she was raped at one of these properties on October 18th. That's still under investigation.

Despite all that, Craig says the new owner who took over this Fall is actually cleaning up the properties.

Imogene: "I couldn't hardly tell you how many people live there, but it's not cluttered like it was," she said.

Rachael: "It's better but it's still packed?"

Imogene: "Yeah...they have their ups and downs."

Pitre responded back Monday evening saying:

"We have had the business license less than a month. We are in the transition phase. Currently working to stabilize the property and have plans for future improvement."

MPD says it will continue to patrol the area.

NBC 15 is dedicated to investigating issues that are important to you and our community.

If you come across an issue that affects you, give us a call at 1-877-315-7268.