Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Media Opportunity Thursday: Distressed Property Sweep

WHAT: Distressed property sweep

DATE: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010

TIME: 8:45 a.m.

LOCATION: Neighborhoods in Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates

MEDIA NOTE: Reporters, please meet in the parking lot in front of the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway

SUMMARY: Deputies will set out to visit more than 200 abandoned and foreclosed properties in Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates, looking for possible criminal activity and code violations.

Deputies will team up with other members of the Golden Gate Task Force in the effort.

Fifteen teams will investigate a large area of distressed properties which are abandoned and foreclosed. These inspections will assist in prioritizing the need for abatement.

The initiative will be the largest sweep of distressed properties to date, targeting 200 properties along streets off of Golden Gate Boulevard and west of Wilson Boulevard and streets off of 16th Avenue Southwest and 23rd Street Southwest.

“It’s a huge effort,” said Cpl Robert Capizzi, who is assigned to the CCSO substation in Golden Gate. “We’re just making sure that the safety, health and welfare of the community is kept intact.”

Similar sweeps were conducted in 2009. The most recent was in October 2009, when deputies visited 100 abandoned and foreclosed properties in Golden Gate. Code enforcement officers opened 26 cases from that effort, and those properties were eventually brought up to code.

Teams will revisit those 26 properties Thursday to make sure the owners are continuing to comply with code enforcement standards.

The sweeps are part of CCSO’s Community Care Initiative.

Under the Community Care Initiative, deputies and code enforcement officers team up to identify houses in foreclosure and/or disarray and help the owners get the properties back up to code.

Based on the “Broken Window” theory, the program’s goal is to prevent homes from deteriorating and becoming attractive to vandals, squatters and thieves.

Launched in 2003, the Task Force is made up of Golden Gate residents and representatives of several Collier County government agencies including CCSO and local fire officials. Its main purpose is to educate residents and uphold code standards as well as determine solutions to address issues facing the community.