PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The people who live in London Oaks Apartments say they feel like prisoners in their own home. They’re reacting to a nine-foot perimeter fence going up around their community.
“I really don’t care too much for it, I really don’t like it,” said resident Jasmine Lewis.
Work crews were trenching the perimeter Wednesday morning and setting fence posts along High Street, the southern border of the complex. It’s also bounded by Mt. Vernon Avenue and London Boulevard.
Jaquella Bagley visits her sister here. “(The fence) just makes the neighborhood look like a big jail if you ask me.”
10 On Your Side has reported multiple times on the trouble at London Oaks this year alone. Two people were shot in April, a month later paramedics took a man to the hospital after a stabbing, and In June police charged a woman with stabbing another woman.
The complex was also where 16-year-old Will Patterson Jr. fled after he shot police officer Angelina Baaklini last November. Patterson was later convicted of attempted capital murder.
Despite the crime, residents say they’re fine without a fence.
“All of a sudden you want to put up gates? I really think that’s crazy, so we somewhat do look like caged-in animals,” Lewis said.
The head of the Portsmouth NAACP says the negative effects of the fence far outweigh the positive, and calls it “racially insensitive.” James Boyd says he will meet with management September 17 to discuss not just the fence but also overall living conditions at London Oaks.
10 On Your Side called and emailed London Oaks management to find out why this fence is needed, and they did not immediately respond.
Workers say it will take at least two more weeks to complete the fencing around the entire complex. At that point, the only access will be driveways on High Street and Mt. Vernon Avenue.