Abandoned homes and unkempt yards - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Neighbors concerned for abandoned homes with unkempt yards

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Evansville Code Enforcement inspectors say they've been buried in some 1,400 complaints about weeds and trash so far this year. 

But it's the abandoned homes beyond the unkempt yards that pose the biggest hazards. 

Neighbors tell 14 News a home on West Virginia Street has been vacant for the past four years, and a tree has taken over the front and is making its way inside.

It's a bank owned property, but neighbors say it's beyond repair. 

"It's not just an eyesore, it's a safety problem because this house is falling apart," says neighbor Jim Bradley.

Jim Bradley lives two doors from the vacant home. He says he used to cut the grass and keep up with the yard, but it's grown to be too much for him. 

"It is a babysitting job, a dangerous one I think," Bradley says.

Neighbors say they hear noises from inside the home. Sometimes people, sometimes animals, and sometimes they say it's the ceiling caving in. 

"We went in there and went upstairs and you can tell someone had been living in there," Bradley says.

Officials say vacant homes are a magnet not only for squatters, but also for thieves. Bradley says the home has been ransacked many times. 

"I caught a guy. He was trying to take a dryer, a washer and dryer. He was in there taking it apart," Bradley says.

"People will break in just to vandalize, to have a place to hide out, start fires, cook meth, could be anything," Deputy Building Commissioner Ron Beane says.

Exactly the fears shared by several of the neighbors.

"We're afraid of the kind of people. Homeless going in there, meth labs mostly because these houses are so close together," Bradley says.

The Building Commission and code Enforcement is swamped with calls about weeds and trash, and in this case, a home that they say is on the list to be torn down.  

"It's a shame. I don't think they should have to have the responsibility, but when it comes down to people leaving, that's all that's left is the city," Bradley tells 14 News.

City officials say they are willing to work with people to get their properties up to code, and sometimes, the process to get a home like this one torn down can take some time.

You can report possible trespassing on vacant properties to the police and can report weed or trash issues to the Code Enforcement Office.

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