New Use For Vacant Foreclosed Homes: Stash Houses For Guns, Drugs?
- As workers board up abandoned properties across the county, police, neighborhood activists and advocates for the homeless are seeing another ugly trend emerge in the foreclosure crisis: Gang members and criminals are using the homes as stash houses for their weapons and drugs. For gang members and street criminals, pitching a weapon or drugs in boarded-up houses is an easy way to avoid being caught with them. For the neighborhood, it's a hazard. The danger comes when neighborhood children use the houses as playgrounds or squatters make dangerous discoveries. [...] Authorities said it's impossible to get definitive numbers on how common the problem is, but they say the mere fact it's happening is worrisome. And it's not just in Cleveland.
- In February, Pittsburgh police told reporters they seized 30 guns and ammunition from abandoned homes in one gang- ridden neighborhood. In March, police in Trenton, N.J., recovered weapons during a search of boarded-up houses. [...] Other communities in Ohio see the same thing. In Summit County, drug detectives have found methamphetamine labs and stashes of cash. "These homes are a breeding ground for crime," said Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera. In recent years, the department has investigated slayings and a rape at abandoned homes.
For more, see Criminals stash guns, drugs in foreclosed homes.