Midtowners say they’re harrassed by homeless people living in vacant homes

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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.


    • Harry

      It’s simple really. Move you and your son out of Memphis ASAP. Your neighborhood is going to pot and it’s waaaay past time to move. Sell your home at a loss if you have to…but move out now.
      Wake up and smell the coffee. I sold my home at a loss and moved my family out of Hickory Hill. My only regret is that we did not move out sooner. Everyday your home is going down in value.

      • Harry

        While you are waiting for your house to sell. Get the good neighbors to chip in and buy some plywood to board up the vacant houses. Use thick plywood and screw the plywood to all the doors and windows. Nails will not do the trick. Use heavy weight screws. Thugs like to sleep in the homes where it is easy to get in. Make it hard for them. You may have to buy more plywood but they will get tired and move to a another house.

      • resa

        @Harry, it is not that simply. Plus, where the hell is everyone moving to? Southaven? Holly Spring? Arkansas? Kentucky? North, South, East or West horrific violence is coming out of all these areas. If you can stay and fight, good. But, when you move, you are still faced with the same problems. There are no SAFE havens! Stop with the “Move Out of Memphis” phrase. Where do you go from there? Tell me I want to know people mind set. I live in a place (and I wont say because crime is down here) where crime is still here but it is a not of killing nature.

  • Mnyama

    Nice advice… everyone isn’t able to up and move on a whim. . . The city claims they “will handle it” but that takes weeks, months and years. Everyone isnt comfortable using a gun but she does need one.

  • Low Profile

    Real Estate values are not recovering in Memphis (at least not in my area). If I find a job that allows me to relocate to another town completely, I’m past willing to just leave it to the bank and walk away. Let it be their problem. The quality of my life amounts to more than a mortgage… or even credit. At this point, there’s no quality to a life in Memphis. It’s more of a penance served while hoping you don’t die from someone else’s stupidity.

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