The Problems with Abandoned Buildings

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Introduction While abandoned buildings are familiar to most people, a generally accepted definition of an abandoned building, per se, has not been established (Shane, 2012). Because the term abandoned building means many things to different people, it is generally most effective to use a more inclusive definition (Shane, 2012). A swath of terms is associated with the idea of an abandoned building, such as property, lot, vacant, temporarily vacant, empty, dilapidated, and hazardous. These terms point to important considerations about whether a building is actually abandoned or just vacant for a time, for instance, while repairs are scheduled and made, or because the house serves as a seasonal residence (Shane, 2012). Typically, three conditions are associated with the classification of an abandoned building: (1) The owner can no longer claim property rights, (2) the property must have been vacant for some time, and (3) the building is considered a health hazard or a hazard to community welfare (Shane, 2012). Research questions. There is little doubt that unsafe, abandoned structures and vacant lots trigger expenditures by municipalities, either directly or indirectly, and result in lost revenue. However, less certainty exists about the relationship between crime rates and the conditions of neighborhoods as expressed by abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The research questions are: (1) Do abandoned properties actually attract criminals and contribute to social
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