Police were called to seven Langley City buildings managed by the Langley Lions Seniors’ Housing Society 139 times in 2017, usually to deal with noise-related complaints, such as breach of the peace and violating noise bylaws.
That’s according to “founded call for service” figures provided by the Langley RCMP.
A review of the figures show the most commonly reported complaints were for noise-related issues, about 50 for causing disturbances, breaching the peace and noise bylaw violations.
Some residents have complained that the complex, originally built to accommodate seniors and people with disabilities, has become home to some mentally ill people and recovering addicts who act out and frighten the other residents.
City Coun. Nathan Pachal, the chair of the municipal Crime Prevention Task Group, said the frequency of police calls appeared to be “sort of typical for the area.”
Pachal said a number of the complaints listed by the RCMP related to incidents occurring on the street outside the residences.
“That doesn’t mean there is a safety risk (inside the residences),” Pachal said.
He added residents should not be reluctant to call police when they see or hear something of concern.
“The City and the RCMP encourage people to report (these incidents),” Pachal said.
According to the Langley RCMP figures, the highest number of calls were at the Elm building, with 36.
Half the calls for service, 18, were for breach of the peace or causing a disturbance.
There were also two suspicious person reports and three drug-possession-related calls at the building, one involving marijuana and two involving cocaine.
The second highest number of calls for service, 27, was recorded by the Dogwood building, where just over half, 14, were for causing a disturbance, breach of the peace or violating noise bylaws.
There were no drug-related calls.
The Alder building had the third highest number of police calls with 23, including four break-ins, four suspicious person, vehicle or occurrence reports, four noise-elated complaints and two reported incidents of common assault.
There were 19 calls during the year at the Fir building, including one for possession of methamphetamine.
There were 18 calls at the Cedar building, including one marijuana possession call, and nine at the Evergreen.
The lowest number of calls was at the fire-damaged and largely unoccupied Birch building, with seven.
Documents provided by residents to the Times described a number of unsettling incidents since the facility began housing to recovering addicts and people with psychiatric problems.
A female resident reported an encounter in her laundry room with “a large man, schizophrenic and not stable.”
A copy of an incident report describes how a mentally ill man and his mother would get into fights, saying “these exchanges are always loud and extremely profane.”
One writer reported that a notice was recently posted that said, “due to the increase in crime and unauthorized people gaining or being let into the buildings” the common area washrooms and lounge areas were being locked.
“That left the senior residents with no common areas to socialize,” the writer complained.
“Common areas are locked so friends of younger tenants don’t sleep there.”
A small group of residents who attended a recent meeting of the Langley Seniors Community Action Table (LSCAT) said police often have to be called to deal with unruly behavior in the Lions complex.
The problems, one said, was the presence of “very young, hard-to-house young males, who are severely mentally ill.”
One male resident of the complex said safety concerns have been “overblown” though he did not dispute the details of the reported incidents.
There was no immediate response from the housing society to a request for comment.
A report on the situation by the chair of the action table housing committee said a Jan. 17 meeting with all involved about the issue did made some progress, but finding a quick solution was unlikely.
Another action-table-brokered stakeholders meeting was expected in February.
The action table is a group of community members, service organizations and individuals that has the stated goal of facilitating “seniors’ mobilization, leadership and involvement” in the community and to “recognize and respond to local issue and opportunities.”
It usually meets on the third Wednesday of the month at the Langley Senior Resources Society centre at 20605 51B Ave.