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Neighbors want more security at High Point apartment where woman was stabbed

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A week after Trista Wilson was stabbed to death in her Elm Towers apartment, her friend Chrissie Carver wants to make sure that never happens again in that building.

“We do not want to see this happen to another beautiful soul,” Carver said. “If better security with housing would have been done, this could have been prevented.”

Carver’s mother lives in the Elm Towers apartments, on the same floor Wilson lived. The two became close friends. Carver is now trying to rally residents to ask for security changes.

“I have been asking people to sign this petition for the safety of all of our loved ones,” she said. She has two pages worth of signatures and counting.

The High Point Housing Authority runs the Section 8 housing complex, designated for the elderly or disabled. In email conversations, their PR Chief Rachael Matthews outlines the security measures in place.

Matthews says key cards are given to residents and HPHA personnel. The door remains open for a period of time to allow folks with disabilities to get through in ample time.

But Carver says people are taking advantage of this, waiting for someone to swipe into the building and then following in behind them. Matthews says “residents are advised not to allow anyone in the building unless it’s their guest.”

HPHA also has a running “ban” list of people who aren’t allowed on any of the properties they run. Matthews confirmed Eric Dawkins, the man accused of killing Trista Wilson, was on that list. Dawkins was involved in a domestic dispute that sent Wilson to the hospital in 2016.

Matthews says “residents are not allowed unauthorized live-ins and are prohibited from allowing banned individuals on HPHA properties.” She says residents contact High Point police if there are people trespassing on that list. Over the past year, HPPD has responded to those calls 27 times, with two times ending in an arrest.

“There is no one here to enforce these rules,” Carver said, calling for a security guard at the door to verify who is coming in. Carver also suggested the ban list be posted with pictures of individuals, since it’s upon the residents to identify and call police.

There are security cameras in place at the entrances to Elm Towers, but no one is employed to monitor those in real time. Carver says police advise residents to take note of the time a person enters the building so they can go back and review the footage.

High Point police designate six officers and one lieutenant to regularly patrol the eight HPHA buildings, making stops in every floor of Elm Towers. HPPD confirms they will be increasing visibility and presence at Elm Towers after this stabbing.