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Avery Trace Apartments, Port Arthur Police up security efforts to benefit residents

Motorists along a section of FM 365 may have noticed the large banners with the big smiley face posted near entrances to Avery Trace Apartments.

The banners aren’t ads trying to lure tenants but a warning to those who may be thinking of committing a crime there — “Smile! You are on CAMERA.”

The addition of surveillance cameras at the apartment complex is a bid to cut down on crime and also includes the addition of security at the site, according to authorities.

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said police and management of the apartment complex have had a series of meetings regarding the crime there.

Police and Avery Trace management have also introduced Crime Stoppers to tenants telling them of the program.

The apartment complex has been the scene of violent crimes including four killings over five years, from the May 27 shooting death of Steve Summerville and October 2019 shooting death of Deshandric Clayton, 23; to the 2018 shooting death of Joseph Boudreaux, 25; and the 2017 the shooting death of Javonte Jack, 20.

A Crime Stoppers sign in a window at the office at Avery Trace. (Mary Meaux/The News)

“We have met with tenants and management and have brought Crime Stoppers out there,” Duriso said, adding that Crime Stoppers representatives gave a presentation and those in attendance were receptive.

Avery Trace is not under the umbrella of the Port Arthur Housing Authority, though they do provide assistance in the form of vouchers for approximately 130 people who live at the apartment complex, PAHD Chairman Robert Reid said.

Reid said he is concerned about the violence at Avery Trace since the killing in May. Reid visited the complex with Duriso a while back and noted people loitering and that police found three to four abandoned vehicles on site.

Those vehicles were immediately removed.

An official with the apartment management said they are working to give tenants a sense of community. A post on Avery Trace’s Facebook page shows the announcement for two recent meetings — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — where the topics of discussion were security, community issues, strategies and more. The slogan was “Together We Can Make A Difference.”