Dangers of abandoned homes

Local News

PHENIX CITY, Ala. –  Phenix CIty is moving forward with plans to tear down an abandoned home after the owner did not show up for a meeting to appeal the decision Tuesday.  City officials say abandoned buildings are a common problem throughout Phenix City.

Phenix City Police Chief Raymond Smith says abandoned homes can be structurally unsafe.

“They may fall through the floor because the wood is rotten.  There’s lots of issues and hazards that come with that and it takes a lot of police resources to try to protect the      community from going into those houses,” Chief Smith said.

He says abandoned homes and buildings can be especially dangers for children.

“They’re dangerous.  They’re dangerous to be in when they’re not maintained and there’s nobody there.  A lot of times children will wander in there.  Juveniles may squat, tear the property up,” Chief Smith explained.

City Attorney James Graham says the city has been working to get rid of blighted buildings throughout the city.

“In the last few years, a program has been instituted where there have probably been over 100 or 200 houses torn down under this program,” Graham said.

Smith says for police, abandoned homes are a public safety issue.

“They bring down property values.  They breed pests,” Chief Smith explained.

The city’s cost for tearing down the building is put on the property owner’s tax bill the next year.

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