MEMPHIS, Tenn. — People in Midtown want action. They say people squatting in vacant homes are increasing break-ins and drug use in their neighborhood.
People who live on Jackson Avenue want something done with two abandoned homes tucked behind over grown trees and bushes. They say both attract trouble.
“I feel unsafe. Me and my kids feel unsafe!” said Felicia Wilson, who lives next door.
The homes have been vacant for at least three years.
“I have two small boys, and it’s me by myself. I am uncomfortable. I have to be in the home by 5:30 to feel safe,” said Wilson.
That’s because Wilson said a group of violent, homeless people living inside harass and terrorize her and other neighbors.
“This is a police report from when they broke in,” said Wilson.
Wilson showed WREG two police reports from when her unwanted neighbors broke in to her garage with her son’s skateboard and toy.
She has also called police other times to scare them off, but they’re back the next day.
So where are the property owners?
WREG found one in Arlington. She said she filed for bankruptcy in 2011, so now SunTrust Bank owns the property.
A spokesperson said they will look into it Thursday.
The home, 2297 Jackson Avenue, will be sold in a tax sale January 9, 2015.
The other property owner lives in Arkansas. He is caught up on his taxes, and we’re told he owns other properties in the area. He has yet to return our calls.
Wilson and her neighbors aren’t the only ones plagued with problems. As you drive around Memphis, you will see home after home with boarded up windows.
The city’s Public Works Department said they are trying to get stricter ordinances that will speed up the process on getting rid of blight.
“I don’t advise citizens to make contact with property owners. Don’t take matters into your own hands. It’s our job,” said Matoiri Spencer, public information officer.
Spencer asks you to call the 311 support center to report blight or vacant homes.
“Once we are made aware of it, our inspectors will conduct an investigation, and we will take the necessary steps to make sure the property is in compliance,” said Spencer.
Wilson said until action is taken on the two homes, “I’m going to put bars up around my home and cameras all around my house to stop them from watching me.”
Click here to report a complaint online. Otherwise, dial 311 on your phone.