Veterans upset over crime and drugs around new apartment complex

Posted at 5:45 PM, May 10, 2017

Darrell Speights breathed a sigh of relief when he was one of 25 veterans to get a chance to have a brand new roof over his head through Operation Reveille.

However, six months in to his new home, he finds his new community is surrounded by crime, drug deals, illegal dumping and trespassers. 

"It worries me," he said. 

Volunteers of America started construction on the 14 duplexes at Kaylee Bay Village in the summer of 2015.

For veterans like Speights they have to remain substance free to get the chance to live in the affordable housing in East Tampa.

But, Speights says if you walk outside the fence of the apartments you'll find beer bottles, syringes and drug deals surrounding the complex. 

"Your sobriety means more to you than anything," he said. 

The drug deals he watches from his window can become a trigger for recovering vets.

Tampa Police Department confirm the reports of illegal dumping, trespassing and narcotics outside the community.

But, Volunteers of America say they have plans to help change the community for the better.

Next month, a new community center will be going into complex off 39th Street.

The idea is to have a playground for children, resources to help people find jobs, and training classes in various areas. 

Danielle DiVittorio, the Outreach Director tells us they are part of the District 3 Police Community Policing Program to help provide increased patrolling and intervention when needed. 

The hope is to make a a difference first in the complex for the veterans, then reach out to the community. 

The community center will open in June.