As foreclosures in the Twin Cities add up, vacant properties pose as safety and health risks to everyone within the community. The City of Minneapolis is taking broad measures to make all neighborhoods safer, especially those which are heavily affected by foreclosed or vacant properties. There are also several things which neighbors can do to create as safe an environment as possible when vacant properties are present. Minneapolis leaders are encouraging neighbors and block clubs to work together by “adopting” vacant properties which may be on the block. If you are taking a proactive step in your community to “adopt” a vacant property, here are some things which you should keep in mind.
- Speak with other neighbors about combining efforts in order to work as a team observing the property. The more people who are willing to watch it, the more likely it is that unlawful activity that occurs at the vacant house will be caught.
- Be sure to check on a vacant property occasionally to ensure that doors and windows are properly closed and that the building is not open to trespassers.
- If the property is open to trespassers, hasn’t been boarded up, or if you observe anything on the property that could be a health or safety issue, report it immediately by calling 311.
- You may maintain the public space around vacant properties. This includes alleyways and sidewalks. As long as you stay on public space, it’s all right to shovel snow, rake leaves, and pick up or remove flyers and litter.
- If you are charged with maintaining a property, it’s not acceptable to dig around on the property, climb on the building, enter a building, or make improvements to vacant property before you have written consent from the owner.
- If your block has a property with an ongoing problem, call your Crime Prevention Specialist at your police precinct. They can work with you to resolve a variety of problems with vacant properties.
- If you see someone inside or around a vacant property, call 911. Whatever you do, do not confront someone who is trespassing or squatting in a vacant property.
For general information, the Minneapolis Police Department web page is located here. To locate contact information for your local Crime Prevention Specialist, please visit here.