Are you aware of an abandoned property that is not well-kept? Abandoned, foreclosed, and vacant properties pose a significant issue for municipalities and communities. And, unfortunately, Lafayette is no different. Research has linked these properties with increased crime, lower property values, and financial strain to the city. There have been many studies relating vacant and abandoned properties to increased crime. Larger cities have seen violent crime rates increase by as much as 15% in the vicinity of abandoned properties (Cui, 2010). There is also evidence showing property values dropping by as much as 9% in the area that surrounds these problem properties (Frame, 2010).
Living within our Lafayette community, we each have a responsibility to ensure that houses in our vicinity are not abandoned and left to fall apart, become overgrown, and draw unwanted issues into our neighborhoods. We must not wait or ignore it and hope that another neighbor will take the time to report the issue. Taking care of the community doesn’t have to stop at your own residence. We have opportunities every day to make a difference in our own neighborhoods.
But specifically, what constitutes an abandoned property? There are a few factors that the city uses as guidelines, but the following are helpful for the public to keep an eye on:
1. Windows or entrances to the property are boarded up and closed off.
2. Multiple window panes on the property are broken and unrepaired.
3. One or more doors to the property are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked.
4. Rubbish, trash or debris has accumulated on the property.
So you see a house that qualifies as an abandoned property, now what? The City of Lafayette has mechanisms in place to help keep our community looking great and not allowing properties to become dilapidated and run-down. Where you come into play is reporting these abandoned properties so somebody from the city can begin the process of rectifying the situation.
Within Lafayette’s new webpage, there is a section that should seem very familiar, the Action Center. This is the first stop for properties that need specific attention. Utilizing the Action Center’s “Report Abandoned Property” link, citizens can stop these troubled properties from creating larger issues. As a community, we should want these issues fixed as soon as possible. And unless somebody reports the problem, the property could sit vacant for a long period of time before it is eventually discovered by government employees. Don’t wait for government to stumble upon an abandoned property. Take a minute to report issues in your neighborhood. Let’s keep Lafayette great!
Lt. Brian Gossard
Community Outreach and Crime Prevention