Decreasing crime in abandoned neighborhoods

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Updated: 7/10/2012 9:21 am Published: 7/09/2012 9:19 pm

Dilapidated homes are in nearly every neighborhood in Tulsa, bringing down property values and bringing crime.

The recent fireworks attack on a FOX23 reporter and an officer happened in a neighborhood filled with abandoned homes, graffiti and high grass.

The incident happened in the Northgate neighborhood near W. 63rd and N. Cincinnati.

However, other neighborhoods, such as one near Pine and N. Peoria, have neighbors working with the city to show revitalization changes everything.  

When neighbors drive through the Dunbar Neighborhood near Pine and Peoria they’ll find new homes, freshly trimmed grass, tidy yards and Mr. Towns.

"Where there is unity there is strength,” said Eric Towns.

Proud homeowners like Mr. Towns have invested more than money.

"People have more to protect and it is worth to protect and that's what causes more unity in the community,” said Towns.

A neighborhood once riddled with crime has been rebuilt and made safer.

"We call one another around here and say, ‘hey did you see that, did you see that?’ It tends to be more unity,” said Towns.

That’s what some neighbors in Northgate said they need.

"I've had to work this neighborhood by myself and I can't find anyone to work with me. They are afraid to get involved,” said Northgate neighbor Alfred Higgins.

Abandoned properties are not isolated to north Tulsa. Since the housing crisis you can find them in any part of the city. However, neighbors have noticed in north Tulsa a pattern of crime around those long-boarded up homes.

"They use those houses to hang out and smoke and I honesty believe it increases the crime rate,” said Northgate neighbor RJ Carter.

That’s why police are reporting those abandoned homes to the City of Tulsa’s Working in Neighborhoods (WIN).

Since 2006, WIN teamed up with Northgate Neighborhood Association and more than 800 properties have been investigated, 47 homes were dilapidated, 30 were demolished, 14 were rehabilitated and three are pending investigation.

The city also reports one Saturday morning churches and volunteers removed 26 tons of trash and debris from Northgate.

"When I come here it is just depressing and more stressful," said Carter.

If your church or volunteer group would like to help the city revitalize neighborhoods call the Mayor’s Action Line at (918) 596-2100. You can also call the Mayor’s Action line to report a home that’s a nuisance.

The mayor allocated an additional $500,000 into last year's and this year’s budget to take care of nuisance homes, including tall grass and demolition.

The city has a timeline and the owner has ten days to secure it. Then they are given ten days for an administrative hearing and then a month to three months to demolish it.

The city says if they can’t work with the owner crews will demolish it themselves and bill the owner.

In the last year, the city has demolished a little more than a third of the homes on the list.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

aleman - 7/10/2012 3:39 AM
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There are people who buy these houses at auctions for almost nothing then borrow money against them at the bank for more than what they are worth with the supposed intention of fixing them up to sell.They end up sitting for years falling apart with the grass grown up while the slum lord lives off the money he borrowed.They get a few like this and they can get enough to live on and make the payments thus keeping the bank happy.Start running low on funds,go back to the auction.
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