Awhile ago, I was talking to another Realtor in town that works with foreclosure properties. He was relating the vandalism and theft from these houses in foreclosure with intricate detail. When I asked him if he has been contacting the local authorities and he said no. The waiting, waiting, waiting to have someone who clearly just wanted to write the report and go and the lack of interest in these crimes were reasons cited for not reporting.
This topic came to mind again today because an appraiser called me. He was asking about a property I had recently sold that he may be able to use as a comp. Question #2 "Was it stripped or vandalized?" Is it this common for vacant homes to be crime scenes that this is the second question?
I understand the reluctance to report theft and vandalism of bank owned homes. I know the police have better things to do, but perhaps the methods we have to employ invite crimes. The addresses of foreclosures are printed in the paper. Anyone with a credit card can go onto a foreclosure home site and get addresses of potential properties to check out. Former owners, neighbors, family, friends - why not take the appliances and fixtures? The lender is the bad guy and the house is the punching bag.
I believe this is a crime that we can get a better handle on. Contact your local authorities and ask what you can do to reduce the number of vacant homes that are targeted by vandals and thieves. Ask a representative from your local law enforcement community to speak at a MLS meeting. This is a community problem, and as stewards of our neighborhoods, this is a place where we can get involved and help resolve.