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'That's my safety, that's my life' | East Point residents concerned their key opens their neighbor's apartments, too

Residents say their door key can unlock at least eight other apartments in the complex. 11Alive's Paola Suro tried it out herself and found it to be true.

EAST POINT, Ga. — Residents of an East Point apartment complex found out this week that their very own front door can be unlocked by their neighbors' keys.

One key can unlock several homes at the complex along Church Street. This is also unlocking fears of safety for residents like 69-year-old Linda Dean. For the sake of residents' safety, 11Alive has chosen not to name the complex. 

"To me, that’s my safety, that's my life because I don’t know what’s going to happen," she said. "I could be there asleep, taking a nap in the kitchen and someone walks through the door. That’s it."

She said her neighbor has been able to open at least eight doors in the complex. 

11Alive's Paola Suro tried it out for herself and was able to unlock the doors with the same key, too, with permission from the residents.

"I’m not sure if the builders or whoever put the apartment locks on the door, they didn’t check to see if everything was OK," Dean added. "To me, if you can open 12 doors off of one key? That’s bad. If you can open 2 doors off of one key? That’s bad. That’s our safety. That’s the only thing I worry about: my safety."

RELATED: National Night Out focuses on crime solutions in East Point

Dean found out Tuesday night that her key opens at least three other doors in the complex when a neighbor approached her. 

"She came here to ask me, 'Ms. Dean, have you heard?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'Let me see if my key works on your door.' It unlocked my door. And it unlocked the lady next door," Dean said.

Dean has lived in her apartment since the building opened its doors four years ago.

She said residents started finding out when a neighbor’s niece used a spare key she found to get back into their apartment. But that spare key was for their neighbor’s apartment downstairs, not for their own home.

"The only thing we asking for is do what needs to be done for the safety of your tenants. Don’t leave anyone hanging out, because we have enough trouble with people breaking into our cars,” Dean said. 

11Alive reached out to the affordable housing real estate company which owns the apartments, as well as staff from the apartments through e-mail, Facebook, and by calling, and as of Wednesday night, have not heard back.

Suro tried calling again with Dean on the phone, but the call went to voicemail.

Dean feels they don’t have a handle on the situation and wants all of their door locks changed. 

"Several people have changed their own lock. Even though I turned the alarm on, I don't know if someone will come in while I'm in there, because we always make sure it's on when we leave the house," she said.

Dean even says she has a door stopper when she's indoors to make sure her family is safe, but she wants the management company to take responsibility. She does not understand why this has not been fixed, or addressed, and why it happened in the first place.

"It's supposed to be safe but it's not even safe out here because my car has been broken into, they broke two windows out, and at that time there were nine more cars broken into," she said. "Tenants had to replace our own windows."

She says she's tried calling and meeting with management but hasn't had any luck. 


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