San Bernardino targets abandoned homes to reduce crime

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- A troubled house on the street is often easy to spot. The broken windows, messy yard and piles of junk are a dead giveaway.

What may be less noticeable is the higher crime rate in neighborhoods with abandoned homes.

Last year, a study by the Institute for Public Strategies found a strong connection between abandoned properties and crime in a half-mile area.

The issue has prompted a coalition of organizations in San Bernardino - including Habitat for Humanity, Institute for Public Strategies, Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, Hope through Housing and the San Bernardino County Housing Authority - to work together.

The Housing Authority of San Bernardino County has purchased five abandoned properties identified as related to crime hot spots. About 30 homes are scheduled for cleanup.

"This joint work to revitalize abandoned homes results in a huge win for the community as well as the homeowners," said Gus Joslin, senior vice president of the Housing Authority of San Bernardino County.

One in 10 homes in the City of San Bernardino is vacant, compared to one in 14 for California, according to the 2010 US Census.

A neighbor of a home targeted for cleanup said he can't wait for someone new to move in.

"It'll be great. Just to have a neighbor who cares and corresponds with me... that's what I'm looking for," San Bernardino resident Rosevelt Carroll said.

Volunteers are needed to cleanup vacant lots on Saturday, Aug. 16 between Sierra Way and Waterman Avenue, and Highland and 16th Street. The event goes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and meets at 245 E. Highland Ave.

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