Crime rate, Gary abandoned buildings key concerns

2011-05-01T00:00:00Z Crime rate, Gary abandoned buildings key concernsBy Lu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
May 01, 2011 12:00 am  • 

 GARY | The city's high crime rate and the abandoned properties challenge those who live and work in District 6, according to Jeff Wilson, one of four candidates running on the Democratic ticket for that seat on the Gary City Council.

Wilson was the only candidate who responded to The Times request for interviews.

Crime is too close to home in this district's Morningside neighborhood, he said.

"The last couple of murders have happened in this district. A stray bullet came through my home's second floor window and almost hit my daughter," Wilson said.

"My car was jacked up and the tires stolen right in my driveway."

Gary has limited resources to address these problems, and needs help from community groups partnering with city government, he said.

"I've started three Crime Watch groups with training," said Wilson, who also has helped organize a Crime Watch community summit.

Cracking down on owners of abandoned property to either fix up or demolish the buildings is also essential to turning around District 6, he said.

"There are still people living in these neighborhoods. Someone is only one family in a block of abandoned buildings. People are breaking into these buildings," Wilson said.

"We need to establish a foreclosure registry in Gary and then we could hold the banks (that own the property) responsible."

Organizing community groups to board up buildings and become active in their area is one solution Wilson offered.

"We have to organize in every precinct. We have to start actively being part of this community," he said.


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