Workers boarding up homes to keep crime out

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Work crews have been busy this year boarding up homes to keep Marion County neighborhoods safe and vagrants out.

Last year, more than 8,000 homes got boarded up for safety. So far this year, nearly 3,700 boarding orders have been issued.

Work crews say if you have an empty house with open doors and windows in your neighborhood, it could be a matter of time before crime moves in.

Tyler Roark works with Wilds Restoration Services, going from vacant home to vacant home, boarding up windows and doors.

An empty house on South Belleview Street was on Roark's list. After someone ripped the front screen door from the hinges, his work crew covered several doors and windows on both the house and garage.

It's right down the street from Tina Muston and her family.

"There are a lot of people that go in places like that. Drug users, you know what I am saying, and I got kids and I don't need them seeing that, you know," Muston said.

In some cases, there are multiple vacant houses in one city block. Having them boarded up not only keeps vagrants out, but also decreases the chance of arson.

"I have been living here almost two, three years," said Michael Thurman.

Thurman was glad when work crews pulled up on his street to secure a vacant home. He hopes it not only helps clean up the neighborhood, but also the reputation from years past.

"That makes the property look bad and although this was a bad area in the past, we are trying to build a better community now," Thurman said.

Until abandoned and rundown houses are fixed, crews like Tyler's will stay busy boarding up, even in some of the most reserved neighborhoods.

"This neighborhood is pretty quiet. We really don't have a lot of things going on," Muston said.

She knows that a vacant house can be a breeding ground for all kinds of crime.

Boarding crews work from a list generated by the city and health and hospital officials. You can get open vacant houses in your neighborhood put on the list by contacting the Mayor's Action Center.