Reducing crime, blight in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 4, 2015) -- They are places where crimes happen and eyesores to the folks who live around them. We're talking about vacant homes and there are a lot of them all across the city. Officers from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's North District took steps to identify the worst ones and get them boarded up.

"You can see the windows, some of them are broken out and doors are kicked in," said one woman who didn't want to be identified, but knows all too well the problem of abandoned homes.

She lives near West 34th Street and North Illinois Street where, the city says, 24-percent of the homes are abandoned and inviting to criminal activity.

"They go in and take out whatever they want, the plumbing, the cabinets or whatever," that woman added.

The problem is just as bad in areas near East 38th Street and Sherman Drive. The city says 24-percent of the homes there are abandoned.

"Over the course of the years we've found bodies in these homes, they're used for prostitution, they're used for dealing narcotics, they're used for using narcotics," said Commander Chris Bailey with IMPD's North District.

Commander Bailey put some of his day shift officers out on the streets, Saturday, to identify the worst of the worst vacant homes. They are in areas considered Department of Public Safety focus areas, part of a multifaceted city-wide approach attack crime and disorder and beautify neighborhoods. Once the real bad ones are identified and reported to code enforcement.

"They'll try to contact or identify who the owner is and give them an amount of time to take action on the property, to board it up or to take other suitable action. Otherwise the city will do it," Bailey said.

The city would then go after the homeowners in other ways. Residents are happy with the action being taken.

"It's a welcoming sight," said one woman.

Commander Bailey did want to make clear that they are not going to these neighborhoods to demonize them. They want to lift them up and going after abandoned houses is one way to do that.