A Lubbock woman is concerned for her daughter’s safety, after catching a squatter leave the vacant property next door on camera.
Carrie Villegas, an Arnett Benson resident, says the “unlawful to occupy” and “no trespassing” signs don’t stop anyone from getting inside.
“They just come and go as they please and we’re literally like just a few feet away,” Villegas said.
Villegas has lived next door to an abandoned home on Baylor Street for three years.
Monday, her teenage daughter snapped a picture of somebody leaving the house on her way home from the store.
“She’s becoming more and more afraid of being grabbed and drug back there or, we don’t know these people,” Villegas said.
Villegas says the owner hasn’t lived in the house since she’s been in the neighborhood.
“He opened what was called a homeless shelter and didn’t have electricity or water or anything,” she added.
For her and her family, she says it’s been constant police reports and strange activity, just steps away from where they sleep.
“They’re all bringing unwanted attention. They’re all bringing in the wrong people and they’re putting people and children in danger,” Villegas added.
The police department confirmed there has been a criminal trespass arrest within the last six months.
Code Enforcement inspected the property and deemed it uninhabitable.
“We’ve written a couple of citations, again nothing’s happening with it so we’re preparing the case to go to our Structural Standards Court, so that we can ask the judge for demolition orders,” Code Administration Director Stuart Walker said.
Walker says his office hasn’t got a title search back for the property, so it’s working with the legal department to put the paperwork together.
Covid-19 halted court hearings, slowing down the process.
“But we’re back on track with that, so we’re putting these cases back together, you know, to get them on the monthly hearings,” Walker added.
Walker says the department sees more abandoned houses in older neighborhoods, but these types of cases are all over the city.
Walker says if you see vagrancy in your neighborhood to call the police department.
He says the fire department is also interested in these cases, as several houses have burned down recently from vagrants living inside.