TAMPA - The Tampa teenager shot by police Sunday after reportedly refusing to surrender a weapon, was no stranger to the Tampa Police Department. And neither is the housing project in which he lived.
In just the first seven months of 2012, Tampa Police officers were called out to the Central Court Apartments more than 200 times for crimes including drug dealing, street fighting, domestic violence and aggravated assault.
Rent is subsidized by the Federal government, but there's a cost to living here.
"I have two boys and it's really rough over here," says resident Dareka Smokes.
Smokes has been trying to move up and out for four years.
"I really look at it like it's a slum. We have a slumlord. They don't do what they're supposed to do here," said Smokes.
The trash-strewn exterior aside, the 68-unit building is a center of crime for miles around.
In just the six days leading up to Sunday's shooting of Javon Neal, Tampa Police were called to the address 22 times.
"We always have a strong police presence there and do a lot of community outreach, always trying to work with the citizens to work with us and prevent the crime in that neighborhood," said TPD spokesperson Laura McElroy.
But the apartment remains a concern for the surrounding neighborhood. Last year, the Tampa Heights Civic Association wrote the management to "... voice our concern about the open drug dealing that takes place at Central Court Apartments."
The building is owned by a limited partnership that lists Clearwater Attorney David Cantu as it's registered agent. He did not return messages requesting comment.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which is responsible for making sure their subsidized homes are decent and safe also did not respond to our request for an interview.
The residents themselves acknowledge some responsibility for their own community, but the shooting of Javon Neal has at least for now, damaged their relationship with the police, putting any solution to the rampant crime here further out of reach.
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