Crime & Abandoned Properties

Everyone knows that abandoned properties are an eyesore, but they can be much worse than that. There is a difference between aesthetic and safety concerns when it comes to abandoned properties.


An old, unpainted billboard might be ugly, but it generally isn’t posing a risk to the health and safety of the community. An abandoned building, on the other hand, is a magnet for safety issues and criminal activity. 

Common Types of Abandoned Properties

Any type of building can become an abandoned or blighted property. That includes single-family homes, apartment complexes, motels, hotels, housing developments, businesses, industrial facilities, school buildings, and more. 


In order to be classified as abandoned, a property typically will be an apparent hazard to the health and welfare of the community where it is located and be vacant for a certain period of time. 

It is important to understand that there are many different reasons why a property may be abandoned by the owners. Financial difficulties and the death of the owner are just two of the common explanations for residential abandonment. 

Businesses and industrial spaces may be abandoned after a flood, fire, natural disaster, or when the industry in a community changes. 

Concerns About Violent Crime

Anyone who works in violent crime prevention and response will tell you that violent crime doesn’t just hurt the victims of the incident. It also harms the entire community. 


Distressed and abandoned buildings can be a magnet for violent crime. A troubling story from Rhode Island illustrates the risk factors. Residents of Silver Lake in Providence have been dealing with a nightmare scenario after a four-unit residential property was abandoned in January 2020. Since then, as many as 20 squatters have moved in and out of the building, causing major problems for the neighborhood.


These squatters have burned furniture, fought in the driveway, stolen packages from nearby homes, and let their dogs attack other animals in the neighborhood. A small dog was even killed by the squatters’ dogs, and earlier in 2021, a woman died on the property, and neighbors were not provided with any information about what happened. This is an extreme example of what can happen when a property is abandoned, but it can’t be ignored. 

Managing the Risks of Abandoned Properties

Communities are affected by abandoned and distressed properties because of how they can lead to increased crime, lowered property values, and health and safety risks.

Just one abandoned property in an area can provide a place for criminal behavior to take place. The risk of fire doesn’t just affect the abandoned property; fire can spread quickly to inhabited buildings nearby. Whether a fire is caused by arsonists or as an accident, the impacts of a building fire affect other properties and can cause breathing problems for people in the area.

Rodents and other pests are another cause for concern. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to protect your community from the health and safety risks associated with abandoned properties. 

  1. Ensure that abandoned buildings are appropriately boarded up so that people cannot access the interior spaces. 
  2. Reach out to your elected and appointed officials to discuss your concerns as a citizen of a neighborhood with one or more of these properties. 
  3. Seek financial assistance from grants that help to demolish abandoned homes and buildings. 
  4. Pursue a receivership remedy. 

Receivership Remedy

Richardson “Red” Griswold has been appointed as a receiver in over 120 court cases within 15 different counties in California. Receivers at Griswold Law serve as representatives of the court. If the court recognizes that a property has been abandoned and needs to be cleaned up, demolished, or sold, the judge can appoint a receiver to manage this process. 


Receivers provide California communities with an excellent resource for dealing with these dangerous, crime-ridden properties. 


Here is just one example of Griswold Law’s success: An apartment building in El Centro, Imperial County, California, had been abandoned. The property had been heavily vandalized, and it was inhabited by squatters and drug users. All value had been stripped from the building, including wiring, A/C units, copper piping, and appliances. 


Griswold Law acquired nearly $400,000 in outside receivership funding, which allowed for the creation and implementation of a rehabilitation plan. On-site security was required to keep the property safe and secure during the rehab process. 


After the process was complete, the property was sold in a finished and refurbished condition to an investor, and it is now being used for local housing. 


This solution helps everyone in the community stay safer, healthier, and more protected from the impacts of crime. 

Concerned About Crime at an Abandoned Property in Your Community? 

Reach out to Griswold Law today to learn more about ways to keep your community safe! 

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