PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Security officers will restrict access to Taft Homes over the holiday weekend.
Only residents and family will be allowed to drive into the public housing complex, according to multiple Peoria Housing Authority board members.
Carl Cannon, the chairman of the board, said the move is “preventative.”
‘We want to keep our residents safe from people that are not residents,” said Cannon, adding this routine has taken place for several years.
A Facebook post went viral Friday afternoon, showing chains on the predominantly used entrance to the community, located on Adams Street near Downtown. The images prompted several concerns, including from members of the Black Justice Project, a local activist group.
The housing authority hired Pennacle Security Services to monitor the complex and drivers entering and exiting the facility.
Pedestrian access is not restricted. People can walk in and out of the facility, but will need to park their cars elsewhere, said Cannon.
“If they want to park across the street and walk in, they can,” said Cannon.
In 2011, the Independence Day scene at Taft Homes became chaotic when people launched fireworks at police and firefighters, who were responding to a dumpster fire. The following year, Peoria Police maintained a heavy police presence at the complex. In 2013, Cannon says the board transitioned to a more preventative approach by checking people at the entrance. There have been no arrests or incidents since, according Cannon.
However, there are concerns that the housing authority did not inform residents of the change in advance. In years past, Cannon says residents received notices and mailings alerting them.
Cannon says the measure should only be in place for the weekend. Peoria Housing Authority is scheduled for board meeting on Monday.