Milwaukee car break-ins at housing complex; residents frustrated

A group of elderly people at a Milwaukee housing complex say their cars have been targeted by criminals. Windows have been smashed, stuff inside the vehicles was tossed around, and in one case, a gun was stolen.

"It’s extremely frustrating," said Zachary Johnson, victim.

Around the Merrill Park housing complex, glass shimmers on the ground. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing problems there.

Merrill Park housing complex

"This is really disheartening and discouraging," said Johnson, who owns a Toyota Corolla that was recently broken into twice in the last month-and-a-half.

"They went through the glove compartment," Johnson said. 

Johnson is one of the lucky ones.

"I have my insurance keep going up," said Jessie Thomas, who has had five car break-ins in the last year.

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The latest crime happened last week. Nothing as stolen this time, but that has not been the case in the past. 

"The first one they broke in, they took my gun out of there," Thomas said.

Residents like Don Carbage said their complaints and concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

"It’s a group of us that has been victimized and nobody’s doing anything," Carbage said.

The residents want that to change. They are asking for more security in a place that houses the elderly and disabled.

"It makes everyone feel insecure and unsafe because we never know when one of the residents might be out there when the cars are being vandalized," Johnson said.

Residents are tired of the crime and ready for a return to peace.

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"We would like to have our security. We’re older people. We need to feel secure here," Carbage said.

Milwaukee police tell FOX6 News they are aware of four of the break-ins. 

Statement from the Milwaukee Housing Authority 

"The Housing Authority is aware of car break-ins at Merrill Park as well as our other properties located throughout the city. Our Public Safety team patrols all of our properties, monitors surveillance footage, and responds to calls received from residents and employees. The Housing Authority works closely with the Milwaukee Police Department on any crime incident that occurs on Housing Authority property. We also ask residents to call the police if they see a crime occurring.

"All of our surveillance cameras are operational at Merrill Park and the exterior cameras pan the lots. We have also upgraded the lighting for the parking lot. We encourage residents to secure their vehicles and not leave items in plain sight. Our Public Safety team is also having discussions with residents about other potential safety measures.

We are doing what we can with the resources we have available. We are continually seeking grants to support our public safety efforts for the low-income families, seniors, adults with disabilities, and the veterans that we serve. We welcome those who are interested in partnering with us on those endeavors."