Neighborhood and rowdy apartment lifestyles conflict with one another

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Disturbances described as 'gang fights' have nearby residents of historic Nacogdoches neighborhood Pecan Orchard concerned.  A mother and her two children enjoy playing in their front yard. Yet, past and recent disturbances occurring less than a block away create an uneasy feeling for mom. "Last year there was a big confrontation between two groups of people and one group had a chain and they're shaking it, threatening and the police were all down and it was a big commotion, " recalled Michelle Cox.

It's real close to what happened at Hampton Place West apartments Monday evening. Armed police swarmed the site, three times in thirty minutes.   Louie Singleton is in jail for deadly conduct. Four others were arrested for Class C disorderly conduct. Constable Roger Dudley showed up. He carries a badge. He also lives in the area. "I know this neighborhood," said Dudley. "All night long you got people hiding in the shadows and running and causing problems. So, I have been concerned personally, as well as being a law enforcement officer."

Disturbances, thefts and open street drug deals are the dangers making residents of historic Pecan Orchard neighborhood wary and pretty upset. "Stay out of people's yards. Stay away from their stuff," is Tammy Fincher's message.  "If you're walking the street, fine. Walk, but mind your own business."

Commercial property owners agree. University Courtyards is directly across the street from Hampton place. They have different owners, but know in the public's eye they're associated with Hampton's problems.  "Most of our residents are either college people or people with children," said Chanda Bryant, University Courtyards spokesperson.  "We're mostly concerned about the children here. We don't want any body's child to get hurt, nor do we want our residents to get hurt."

The East Texas News contacted Hampton Place West. The manager declined an interview. She said the owner lives out of state. She said no criminal checks or income checks are conducted on residents. There isn't any security either.

The complex is a stark difference to the renovated bungalows and larger homes found in Pecan Orchard. Owners take pride in their neighborhood. They don't like being scared.   Pecan Orchard residents have taken their concern to the police. Police even live in their neighborhood. The police have come to their neighborhood watch program. Right now, the best they can do is to simply look out for one another.   "Our neighborhood association has a mass e-mail that's sent out any time a crime is reported on a theft takes place," said resident Diana Walker. Meanwhile, Pecan Orchard neighborhood association is researching the enforcement of nuisance abatement laws. Property owners can be fined if the police are called, too often.

One resident said we're not casting judgement. We simply want people to follow the laws.