The city of Brownfield is working on a major overhaul. In the next two months, the city plans to tear down at least 30 dilapidated homes. The goal is to clean up the community, while increasing property values and cutting down on crime.
Building Inspector Mitch McElroy has gone through each home, and found holes in the roofs, lack of floors, flimsy walls and electrical problems. He says his department relies on a safety checklist to determine whether a home is dilapidated enough to be torn down. The concern, is that the crumbling walls of the condemned homes will cause property values in the area to crumble, too. However, officials also say the vacant homes make for easy targets of crime.
"You'll find evidence of drugs, where kids are smoking cigarettes and it's just dangerous for them to go inside these properties," Code Enforcement Officer Kitha Tankersley said. "Vandals, they just tear up things. People go inside and strip the wires to sell."
McElroy says the vandalism prompts them to tear the houses down as soon as possible.
"Once we sticker a house, we tag it, it seems like they try to vandalize it even more. So we try to get it down as quick as we can," McElroy said.
As the city tears down all thirty homes, they hope the vacant lots left behind will bring lower crime, higher value, and an overall sense of pride to the community.