MARTINS FERRY, Ohio -
A Steubenville man has made it his mission to make for a safer life in public housing.
Donald Muhammad's daughter and grandchild lived briefly at Jaycee Manor in Martins Ferry, and he said no one should have to live in fear and danger. "I have a videotape right now in my pocket of syringes and different things. They were loaded, you know, loaded. And when you're dealing with these things laying on the ground and you have children..." Muhammad said his daughter was afraid to leave her apartment, even to take her baby for a walk.
He said sometimes, she would call him crying, saying she couldn't take living there anymore. Muhammad said his daughter's car tires were flattened, and the paint was scratched and gouged. When she reported it to authorities at the housing complex, she was allegedly told it must have happened somewhere else.
Muhammad said in his experience, that was how complaints were dealt with at Jaycee Manor. He said he moved his daughter out, and the next day, another young woman was stabbed 17 times.
The housing unit has a history of murders, rapes, stabbings and drug trafficking.
Martins Ferry police chief John McFarland said the management tries to screen the residents. "Where the problem arises, is these people invite other people in to stay with them. People from out of town."
The management refused to comment, but referred 7 News to their management, the Barcus Company. Spokeswoman Angela Carey of the Barcus Company said, "We take security very seriously. We have security lighting. We have cameras. And any incident in the past has been resolved."
When reminded that among the "past incidents" included a murder and a stabbing, Carey said those perpetrators were visitors coming onto the property without permission.
Muhammad said the security cameras get a failing grade. He said they're facing the wall, and not able to identify people clearly. In addition, he said, they don't cover the whole grounds.
Muhammad claims he has been ignored and hung up on. "You're even almost crazy for asking for security for these people. That's the general tone," he said.
McFarland said he believes Muhammad's heart is in the right place. He suggested forming a community crime watch, and getting people involved in their own safety. Muhammad said the residents have a right not to live in fear.