(Memphis) Criminals are striking in one Raleigh neighborhood, and the people who live there say it’s all because of the vacant homes in the area.
Vacant homes are spread throughout Memphis, and some people say this makes it easy for a criminal to attack you and something should be done about it.
Cordaius Biley, Tarell Bell and Nykala Evans are all accused of breaking in through a window in a Kerwin Street home and ransacking a woman’s home.
According to police the trio stole her jewelry and a television and stashed them in the shed of a vacant house next door.
They also hid behind the vacant home and were later spotted by police in the area and arrested.
“They need to do something about these vacant houses. That’s all I see they can do. Because they’re dangerous,” said Sam Hibbler.
Hibbler walks by the vacant homes every day as he takes his son to school and says they’re causing a lot of problems.
He fears it could get even worse.
“Some guy around here is trying to rape some girl around here walking back and forth to school this way. They tried to snatch one girl. There used to be a vacant home right there and they were trying to snatch her into the house,” said Hibbler.
In a statement Mayor A C Wharton’s office says “As a part of our historic productivity in addressing blight, we have realized increases in the number of vacant homes we have boarded and secured over the years.”
Jonathan Ford lives in a neighborhood with some of those boarded up homes and says the only way to fight the vacant homes is by making the property owners do something with it or face some sort of punishment.
“Got some on this street, got some on that street, some back there, some back this way. There are a lot of houses open, but the houses aren’t in good shape,” said Ford.
The mayor’s office says it’s focus is on working with home owners to make sure their properties are not havens for crime.
This comes just weeks after the city's blight director Onzie Horne resigned after an audit showed problems with how city money was being spent in the fight against blight.
Monday the city’s CAO George Little admitted to News Channel 3 it needs to do a better job of coordinating with the courts to make sure absent property owners who neglect their space will face fines and charges.