Abandoned properties - why are these dangerous?
By Lt Michael Bishop and Lt Kenneth Lawless
Campaign Improve Safety by Being Informed
The presence of abandoned or condemned properties on a block poses many dangers, both to those that may trespass inside the properties and to those that live next to abandoned or condemned properties. Generally, many of these properties have structural problems, making it unsafe for anyone to enter, including Police and Fire Department personnel.
The Norristown Police Department had a recent increase in Trespassing and Burglary complaints surrounding these types of properties. Lt. Kenneth Lawless, Patrol Commander with the Norristown Police, is at the forefront of combatting issues related to abandoned and condemned properties and provides these findings.
The properties are locations where homeless individuals choose to try and seek shelter from the elements. Besides the danger of entering these properties, as well as the illegal aspect of trespassing, there have been structure fires that have displaced neighbors, caused by trespassers setting small fires inside to keep warm.
These properties also pose a risk to the community by being a target for thieves, most of whom are scrappers or drug-seeking individuals. These folks enter the properties and remove any metal they can, including water pipes, not caring of the consequences such as the flooding of that and any adjacent properties. Drug-seeking individuals will also use these properties to enter and use narcotics. Any property that is under renovation may be a target for thefts of tools to support those with a drug habit.
If there are abandoned or condemned properties near your home, and you see anyone entering or exiting, or have reason to believe there are persons inside that should not be there, please call 911 immediately.
The Police Department will work closely with Code Enforcement to ensure the safety surrounding these properties.
For anonymous reports, please use our Crime Tip Line and let us help you. Call us at 610-278- 8477 or send us an email at NPDTips@norristown.org
Lt Michael Bishop and Lt Kenneth Lawless