West side street a 'nightmare' for residents
Published Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:37PM CST
For more than three years, members of a Saskatoon family say they've been virtual prisoners in their own home; afraid to go out after dark, fearing for their personal safety. On a daily basis, they witness drug deals, and johns picking up prostitutes. They're regularly threatened and harassed. And they're not alone.
A section of Avenue S South is having troubled times. One man living in the area agreed to talk to CTV Saskatoon, if we protected his identity.
"We have neighbours right now that will not answer their doors after dark," says the area man. "I've had threats against myself and death threats against my dog."
He says the problem seems to come from two apartments on the street, one with four units, the other with six. Just a few weeks ago, police were called to a stabbing in one of the apartments. It's become so bad our source decided to take pictures to document the ongoing problems.
"We have johns picking up hookers, dropping off hookers in front of our house," says the man. "We see gang colours all the time. We see gang meetings out in the middle of the street."
Police inspector Shelley Ballard says the police are familiar with the situation and they're doing what they can to solve the problem. "We are constantly responding for service there and I know in some situations, we've gotten other agencies involved such as fire, health and social services, safer communities and neighbourhoods and we work together with these agencies to solve problems if we can't solve them on our own."
Pat Lorje, the councilor for the area, puts the blame on slum landlords and wants them to clean up their act. She has several ideas she thinks could help - among them making landlords pay.
"If we have properties that are generating an unusual number of emergency service calls - perhaps it is time the landlord paid for it," says Lorje. ""It is very unfortunate that we have a concentration of rental accommodations and a concentration of poverty in one particular area."
But all our source wants is to feel safe in his own home. "It's sad that we're all kind of stuck in this. And it is a terrible nightmare for everybody and a horrible roller coaster as well."