SAN ANTONIO -- A lot of apartment complexes and subdivisions are gated to control access. But a plan to put fencing around sections of the Lincoln Heights Courts may end up creating a big divide among tenants living there.
Some tenants believe the fencing treats them like caged animals.
“They say it will make them feel like cattle,” said Yolanda Martinez.
Martinez moved into the public housing complex three years ago and right away didn’t feel safe. She joined a residents committee working with the San Antonio Housing Authority. SAHA plans to use $250,000 in federal grant money to put up security fencing and add extra lighting and surveillance cameras.
A SAHA spokesperson said the fencing is a way to try to control crime, which Martinez believes is often committed by people who don't live in the public housing complex.
"That would be an exceptional idea. I would allow the people who do not live here to not to be able to get in," said Carol Pena.
Pena told us crime is out of control near the corner of Hamilton and Poplar. She said there are too many shootings, rapes, and a lot of drug dealing. There is also prostitution.
"Just recently I got robbed," Pena told us. "That's why I have these marks right here. I had $1,800 in my purse and whoop, ran off with my purse," said Pena.
She admits she's a prostitute and said she had no other way of surviving, financially. Still, Pena believes she and others are the victims of violent crime happening day and night.
"You got all these drug dealers, and you gotta stop it," Pena argued. "People are dying. I see shootings. I see stabbings. I've been stabbed myself. I've been raped."
While anxiously looking around, she continued to voice concern.
"This is a terrible life," added Pena. "This little section right here is out of this world."
Martinez, who heads the residents council, lives near the corner Pena seemed most worried about. We noticed a woman sitting at a bus stop, shouting across the road for men to look out as police drove by in an unmarked car. Women walking the streets kept an eye on Martinez too. She might be considered the enemy or a snitch.
"They're coming over here to see who's talking to you. I can see it and feel it,” said Martinez.
But Martinez insists she not afraid because some has to speak out to stop crime in order to protect hundreds of children in the large complex.
"This particular community has more than 500 children under the age of 12," said Angela McClendon-Johnson of SAHA. "So, we at SAHA want to do all that we can to make sure they have a safe and secure place environment to play in."
The fence isn't the ultimate defense, but Martinez hopes it is a deterrent, a way to slow down the number of problems plaguing the place she calls home.