BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The city of Birmingham’s Office of the City Attorney is suing the owner of Monarch Ridge Apartments on Gallant Drive due to what they described as the “high amount of violent crime and other illegal activities at the property.”
Monarch Ridge, which is owned by Steele Valley Brook, LLC and previously went under the name Valley Brook Apartments, is the site of at least six gun-related incidents since Feb. 7, including two homicides, according to the city.
The lawsuit, which was filed Friday, states “the Defendants have continued to allow criminal, violent and life-threatening activity to occur, thus creating a public nuisance.”
The city contends:
- Valley Brook Apartments have been the site of several incidents of murder, gun-related violence, assaults and other forms of illegal activity.
- Birmingham police officers have responded to multiple incidents where firearms have been discharged.
- Birmingham police officers have made multiple arrests at the apartment complex.
“Landlords must be put on notice,” city attorney Nicole King said in a written statement released by the city Friday. “You will be held accountable if you do not take care of your property or allow crime to take place.”
Through the lawsuit, the city is seeking an injunction that would require Monarch Ridge Apartments to take steps to reduce illegal activity at the complex, including the establishment of a comprehensive audio/video surveillance system, acquire license plate technology and establish a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week security presence at the complex.
Mary Fikes, a current resident of Monarch Ridge, told CBS 42 she doesn’t feel safe living there. She said shootings and other crimes are common at the apartment complex.
“When we get a shooting I get on the floor. I will sleep on the floor, it’s that bad here,” Fikes explained.
The city asks that if Steel Valley Brook fails to prevent further illegal and violent activities, the complex should be sold to someone else.
“This is a key part of our public safety response,” Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement. “We must address crime through a multi-faceted approach, which includes law enforcement, our courts, state and federal partners and through the help of our residents. Together, we reduce crime through innovative thinking. I commend the City Attorney for taking this action.”
Last spring, King created the Office of the City Attorney’s Drug and Nuisance Abatement Team, which to hold landowners accountable for keeping their properties clean and crime-free. Since the start of the team, eight cases have been closed.
Problems with drug and nuisance properties can be reported via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or residents may call the internal Drug and Nuisance Abatement Team at 205-254-2369 during normal business hours.
Read the full complaint here