(KMOV.com) – The East St. Louis Housing Authority announced it is giving its security forces more power to crack down on crime in public housing.
Nine armed security officers graduated from a 150 hour training program Wednesday that allows them to carry tasers and batons, and arrest people.
“It's been beneficial. It's been a direct impact. It's making a difference,” security officer Cortez Slack said.
In 2012, Slack was the only security officer on staff. At that time, many prosecutors and other officials said public housing in East St. Louis was more dangerous than Juarez, Mexico.
Officials said the increased number of officers has helped cut down on violence at public housing complexes. There are 515 people banned from public housing in East St. Louis. Slack said many of them came back anyway and were arrested.
One resident told News 4 the increased security has made her feel safer.
“I like to see the security guards and the police officers riding up and down to keep everyone out to make it safer.”