UM looks limit crime on prop­er­ties

Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Caitlin Burns

cburns@jour­nalregis­ Up­per Moreland Town­ship ad­vised res­i­dents to keep a close eye on any neigh­bor­hood houses that could be aban­doned to limit crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity at sev­eral pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions.

The board of com­mis­sion­ers dis­cussed the town­ship’s abil­ity to iden­tify and mon­i­tor aban­doned houses April 15 and de­ter­mined WKDW nHLJKERUs ZHUH WKH fiUsW OLnH RI de­fense in keep­ing van­dal­ism from oc­cur­ring.

“Ap­par­ently crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity was go­ing on in one of th­ese homes,” town­ship So­lic­i­tor Kate Harper said.

At a pre­vi­ous meet­ing, res­i­dent Nick Scull re­ported to the town­ship that a house near his on In­man Ter­race had been stripped of its cop­per pip­ing af­ter the owner had died and the es­tate left in dis­re­pair.

“Peo­ple should report that sort of sus­pi­cion di­rectly to the po­lice,” he said.

Harper said there are sev­eral rea­sons an or­di­nance that re­quires Real­tors or banks to no­tify the town­ship of an aban­doned or fore­closed prop­erty would not be en­force­able. Two ex­am­ples that were given were that many banks that of­fer mort- gages are na­tional banks that could be head­quar­tered in other ar­eas of the coun­try or that many fore­closed prop­er­ties are still lived in un­til the houses go to sher­iff’s sale.

“I’m wor­ried about the neigh­bor­hood de­te­ri­o­rat­ing,” Scull said. “I’ve been watch­ing peo­ple come and go for months.”

Act­ing po­lice Chief Alex Levy said it is a “slip­pery slope” and the de­part­ment can­not as­sume a prop­erty is aban­doned even if it is in dis­UHSDLU. HH sDLG HvHn LI SROLFH RI­fiFHUs were driv­ing through the neigh­bor­hoods they can­not as­sume a house is aban­doned and go in. How­ever, Levy said, if a neigh­bor is con­cerned about a neigh­bor­ing house and calls the po­lice, they can in­ves­ti­gate.

“We need the neigh­bors. With­out the neigh­bors we’re not ef­fec­tive,” Levy said. “It’s a qual­ity of life is­sue.”

“TKH fiUsW OLnH RI GHIHnsH Ln DOO of this, to me, is all my neigh­bors,” res­i­dent De­nis Hur­ley said. “If you can’t rely on your neigh­bor to look around and know who’s next door and who’s across the street, boy, I’m in the wrong neigh­bor­hood. I’m in the wrong town. On our block, ev­ery­body is watch­ing for ev­ery­one ... I think it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

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