Apartment complex sees more crime, health code violations

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — There’s an apartment complex in San Marcos that’s caught the attention of law enforcement, the city’s code department and the fire marshal.

It’s in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood, an area KXAN recently reported on that’s seen an increase in high priority calls to the San Marcos Police Department.

Specifically at the Sutton Apartments, SMPD said there’s been 82 calls for service since this June for things like assaults, weapons concerns and criminal trespassing.

‘It’s not safe whatsoever’

A woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she’s lived at the complex for nearly a year.

“It’s not safe whatsoever in the apartment complex,” she said.

In that time, she’s seen and heard a lot.

“Mainly drug dealing,” she said. “Shootings seven times in a week. We just recently had another one.”

She said there’s been issues both around the complex and in the units.

“I have mold growing in my apartment,” she said.

Those kinds of complaints made their way to the City of San Marcos’ code compliance team.

Health code violations

For a year, the city said it tried working with the complex to address a number of concerns like sewage backup, no hot water and the lack of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

“They substantiated a lot of the things that had been in those complaints that were of concern about those units not being tenable for human beings, they were not tenable,” said SMPD Patrol Commander Jennifer Williams.

  • Sutton Apartment Complex
  • Sutton Apartment Complex
  • Sutton Apartment Complex
  • Sutton Apartment Complex

Still, issues persisted and the complex received a Health and Safety Warrant from the Fire Marshal in August.

That then prompted at least a dozen evacuation notices for several units.

But that wouldn’t be the end of it.

Increased criminal activity

SMPD got involved a few months ago because of the increased criminal activity in the complex.

“82 calls since June for things like narcotics, criminal trespassing, weapons concerns,” Patrol Commander Williams said. “Other violent offenses that were occurring in other places around San Marcos… some of those same offenders that were involved in those incidents were coming back associated to the Sutton.”

On Friday, SMPD conducted a criminal trespass operation to make sure squatters weren’t staying in units that were supposed to be empty.

Williams said they didn’t find anyone physically inside the units at the time, however they did find signs people were there.

“Candles left burning. Phones left plugged in,” Williams said. “People had very much recently been there.”

While in the complex, officers unexpectedly found two people with warrants and arrested them.

Williams said that won’t be the last time that happens, as there are still other wanted people associated with the complex.

He said SMPD is working to get them into custody as well.

“Continue a heavier police presence, just on our patrol division, as they possibly can,” Williams said.

Statement from the complex

In a statement sent to KXAN, Sutton Apartments said a new management company has been with working with the City of San Marcos, as well as SMPD, the fire department and code enforcement to address the problems.

“This has included relocating residents from problem apartments or allowing residents to leave without penalty. In addition eviction proceedings have been undertaken where appropriate and police have assisted in removing squatters and others from the property. We appreciate the efforts of the San Marcos police to assist in dealing with criminal activity on the site.

Our managers also met with representatives from the Austin Tenants Council and Blanco River Regional Recovery Team who were available to answer legal questions and help find resources for alternative housing.”

Sutton Apartments

The complex said it agrees with the city that the property has major issues that must be addressed.

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