Police program cracks down on problem homes

A total of 25 properties had issues resolved in Abbotsford from January to October this year.

This home in Bradner was among numerous sites that attracted police attention and action this year

In February, Abbotsford Police were notified that a known property offender, who had been evicted from his former residence for operating a “chop shop,” had moved to another area of the city.

His new rental property was in a rural area of Bradner, down a long driveway with several outbuildings on the property.

Police went to the site and arrested the man, whose phone contained pictures of the landlord’s machinery that he posted online for ads selling the items.

The man was sent to jail, the landlord evicted the tenants, and there have been no further incidents at the property.

The problem residence was one of 25 in which issues were resolved from January to October of this year, as part of an Abbotsford Police program.

In a presentation to the police board on Nov. 27, Acting Staff Sgt. Dave Marshall said the program currently has 15 problem residences on its list for issues such as bylaw infractions and criminal activity.

The homes are ranked in priority, with the top three garnering the largest focus.

The residences are identified by concerns from the public, surveillance, bylaw officers, and through police being called to the sites.

Marshall said the goal is to resolve issues at each location within three months, including possible eviction of the problem tenants, in consultation with the landlord.

In the case of derelict buildings, police assist property owners with demolition and expediting the development process, if possible.

If the property is in disrepair or poses serious risk, a city team conducts a safety inspection with partners such as social services, Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service, and the BC Safety Authority.

Deputy Chief Rick Lucy said the nuisance homes occur throughout the city, but are of particular concern in denser areas.

“You can imagine the type of harm that can happen … If unaddressed, it will ruin a neighborhood within days or weeks,” he said.

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