Operation targets crime at NE Side apartment complex

SAN ANTONIO – Residents at a Northeast Side apartment complex are standing up against criminals and squatters invading their property.

Residents at the Whispering Heights complex say criminal activity there has gotten so bad, they've had to call in the city's Dangerous Assessment Response Team -- or DART -- to help clean up the more than 50 units located in the 200 block of Rainbow Drive.

Records show there have been more than 400 code and criminal violations within a 2-mile radius of the area since 2013. 

Resident Jasmine Diaz said she has always questioned the activities of some of her neighbors. After seeing police and city officials taking down alleged criminals Tuesday morning, she said she's confident her kids will see less criminal activity outside their door.

"It will be good for them to see different things -- more, like, good people out there," she said. 

According to San Antonio police Sgt. Pat Michalec, the code violations found Tuesday -- along with habitual criminal activity -- were enough for several administrative warrants to be issued.

"We gave all that information to the city attorney's office. They do the administrative warrant and we make sure that the place is safe," Michalec said.

The area falls under Councilman Mike Gallagher's district. According to his chief of staff, Mario Hune, the DART program has been instrumental in cleaning up the area. 

"(We are trying) to clean up the area for the residents here who are just trying to make an honest living and (have) a better quality of life for everyone," Hune said.

"In the past, we've had some shootings, we've had drug arrests, and today we have one or two people we've picked up and some other charges that we'll be following up here in the future," Michalec said.

By the end of the morning, at least six people were taken into police custody. Some violations included robbery and squatting.

The apartment complex's manager, Miguel Hernandez, said he is happy with what the city has done.

"We know a lot of people living there were living there illegally," Hernandez said.

Monday's was the second DART operation in the neighborhood since last fall.