Aspen Heights Resident Compares Security to Babysitting

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COLUMBIA - After Aspen Heights rolled out stricter security measures to protect its residents after a string of crimes in the community which included an armed robbery, shots fired, and a home invasion, some residents aren't happy with the changes.

One resident said the new measures make the people living there feel like children, instead of the 18 to 25 year olds they actually are.

"We've gone from paying for security to paying for our own babysitters," said John Ludlam. "It's been difficult."

Ludlam also compared it to a prison, pointing at a whiteboard tacked on his wall, which had a message on it reading, "Welcome to Aspen Heights Prison/Cell Block 3733."

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, general manager for Aspen Heights, Tyler Yates, sent an email detailing new security measures in light of a Saturday morning robbery.

That email details four main rules.

  • Only Aspen Heights residents and their approved guests will be allowed on the property.
  • All access codes have been temporarily disabled, meaning residents will only be granted access to Aspen Heights using their gate clickers. Visitors will not be able to call residents from the gate intercom.
  • Each resident will be limited to four guests per day and, when security is present, each guest must check-in with security by providing their name and house number of the resident they are visiting, along with their full name and phone number.
  • All house parties are immediately off-limits and will be met with a fee of $600 per house for those who choose to violate it.

Public relations director for Aspen Heights, Stuart Watkins, said these measures are to control who goes in and out of the complex.

"This will allow our third-party security team to better monitor the individuals that are entering the property," said Watkins via a phone interview.

Except, Ludlam says security patrol is completely randomized.

"How strongly they choose to monitor who comes through the gate has been unpredictable," said Ludlam. "There isn't a set time for when the gates close and when they're open, so we're completely winging it at this point."

When asked if the crimes at the Columbia location of Aspen Heights are typical of new properties or special to Columbia, Watkins hesitated before saying it was "a unique situation."

A unique situation that has some residents ready to move on.

"I would be shocked if this keeps up, if you saw me at Aspen Heights next year," said Ludlam.

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