Crime worries in Wellington - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Crime worries in Wellington

By Al Pefley email

WELLINGTON, FL (WFLX) - Kenneth Wiggins, a father of six, works for a moving company and rents part of a duplex in Wellington.

"When I first moved around here it was nice and everything for the kids. Now it's like you can't even trust your kids to come outside now 'cause you don't know what's gonna go down," Wiggins explained.

The comforting music from an ice cream truck floats past the houses on White Pine Drive and kids line up for treats. Wiggins feels the area is going downhill.  "We need to get rid of all the troublemakers," Wiggins said.

"Nobody's caring anymore about keeping the up the properties and things like that," said Donna Pepper, another renter who has lived on White Pine Drive for 17 years.

An incident two weeks ago reminded neighbors of the danger.  A music teacher, roused from his sleep, pulled out a gun and shot and killed an intruder who broke into his home February 16, threatening him and his wife. Since then, deputies say they've decided to step it up a notch.

"To try and bring down the crime in these areas, we have saturated this area with patrols," said Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Leatherman.

He told us the sheriff's office is focusing on three Wellington trouble spots.  One is the intersection of White Pine Drive and the 12th Fairway.  That was the location of the deadly home invasion last month.  Plus the area around  Goldenrod Drive and Hyacinth Place, and finally Yarmouth Court and Folkstone Circle.

All three areas are mostly filled with rental units, where people are always moving in and out, and where Leatherman says many of the renters are apathetic and so are the landlords. 

"We have people that own property that have been dubbed slumlords and they don't care who they rent to, they don't do background checks on anybody they're renting to," Leatherman explained.    He says the sheriff's office has tried to set up crime watch groups.  But each time, only a handful of people came to the initial meeting.   Another one is set for Friday, March 6 at 7pm at the Wellington Community Center at 12165 West Forest Hill Boulevard.

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