• Matt Esnayra

Residents protest over apartment safety at Century Villages at Cabrillo in West LB

Around twenty-plus residents protested outside of the West Long Beach apartment complex Century Villages at Cabrillo to bring attention to safety concerns and allegations of negligence by property management.

Why it matters: The demonstration was small, but it does follow a recent trend by tenants protesting their landlord or property managers since the start of the pandemic over evictions, safety issues, and lack covid protocols.

  • The local grassroots organizing group LiBRE set up the event.

Driving the news: Residents armed with handmade signs and a loudspeaker aired their grievances about Century Villages, an apartment complex wedged between State Route 103 and off-white corporate buildings. Two recent violent acts prompted the protest: the murder of a resident and a hit-and-run that killed a security guard. Plus, a mixture of robberies, assaults, and allegations that staff is not following Covid health guidelines.

  • The protesters marched from one entrance to the other, shaking mini cowbells and holding signs that read "housing is a human right," "Stop the abuse of power - stop the retaliation," and "No to management oppression."

  • Multiple tenants spoke of a damaged fence along the 103 Freeway and that unhoused people have trespassed on the property, lit fires, and lived in their cars in the complex's parking lot.

  • "I no longer feel safe in my house, and I can't go outside after dark because I'm scared of something happening to me," a Century Villages at Cabrillo tenant said in LiBRE's press release.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous resident

One resident alleged that staff "stole $500 of my money from my room" and "these staff members are allowed to do whatever they want"... and that "management turned a blind eye."

What they're saying:

  • One resident told the Modern Times, "We had young hoodlums who use to live here [they] were sent away because they were engaging in gang activity. But, they came back [and started] breaking ]into] vehicles stealing stuff."

  • A tenant named Ralph Martin told the Modern Times that "not only was I dealing with my own mental health issues I was being bullied and harassed by management." Mr. Martin said property management towed his car from his own parking space.

  • Century Villages at Cabrillo Executive Director Steve Colman on the tenant protest: "The Villages at Cabrillo is a strong and supportive community, and we not only welcome input from every member of the Villages, but we also invite it. The event that occurred outside of our gates today to protest ongoing safety and security concerns at the Villages reflects a remarkably engaged community, and residents who live at the Villages will always have our support when voicing concerns or needs.The safety and wellbeing of everyone who calls the Villages their home will always remain a top priority of ours, and we believe that it truly does take a whole village to make positive progress.Last month, we completed a community-wide security assessment, which has been an ongoing effort for the last many months. Further, we have spent the last year taking concrete steps toward improving safety and security across the community, with the partnership and support of local law enforcement, the Long Beach VA, and the City of Long Beach. We are concerned about the significant negative impact that misinformation about critical issues such as safety and security at the Villages can have on our entire community. To that end, we have asked for and look forward to the opportunity to meet with the tenant union and establish a positive and productive partnership. We hope to work collaboratively with our tenant union to continue to improve security and safety across our site, communicate transparently about these important issues, and work together to distribute accurate progress updates to every member of the community."

Photo courtesy of an MTLB reader

Residents are asking for Century Village to:

  • Make management hold security accountable for not performing their duties.

  • Reinforce the fence along the 103 Freeway and Install security cameras with input from residents.

  • Have a functioning emergency number

  • Have management work with an outside fire safety organization "that developed an appropriate plan for residents" and apply the plan property-wide.

  • Hold management accountable" and have staff follow COVID protocols.

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