Empty Houses: Hidden Dangers

Empty houses...they could put your family at risk. There's often hidden danger hiding inside the dilapitated exterior. Not only are these houses an eye sore... But they pose a bigger danger as well.

The residents we spoke with said their biggest concern is who is moving in when the residents move out. A neighbor who wants to remain anonymous says "we stay locked 24/7. We have locks on all of the doors." She lives near an abandoned house on Taylor near downtown Amarillo and says shes afraid of who is spending the night across the street. And APD says she should be. Cpl Sam Martinez says "Prositutes, druggies, people wanting to commit other crimes like forgery."

There are hundreds of houses like this in Amarillo... Destroyed and torn apart... Crawling with bugs and littered with garbage. One neighbor, who also wants to remain anonymous, says she's worried about her children's safety. "My girls... I have to watch them, especially when they are playing outside. I have a family to worry about." Both neighbors just hope something is done...and soon. "Tear it down. It's not even livable."

They just might get their wish. City Code Enforcement wasn't aware of the issue until we brought it to their attention today. And now... Howard Bilderback in Amarillo Neighborhood Services Administration says "I'll go over there first thing tomorrow morning and check it out. If it's a true problem, as I'm guessing it is by the way you described it, then we'll start the condemnation process."

The house won't be gone tomorrow though... First it has to be approved by city commission and then it can be considered for demolition... Perhaps by February.