PANAMA CITY, FL- Newschannel 7 broke the story Monday about last week's rape of a girl in the Glenwood community. Panama City Police are still looking for the suspect. But Glenwood residents say abandoned homes in that area are playing an ever increasing role in crimes like this one.
The violent attack took place behind an abandoned house off 11th court. Residents say there are several houses just like it that create a scary problem in the area.
Abandoned homes in the Glenwood are causing concerns for residents in the area.
Glenwood resident, Tameka Williams, said, "We have the abandoned houses. Transients live over here, and drug activity goes on over here."
The crime is drawing attention to a growing problem of illegal activity in and around abandoned houses.
Panama City Police Lt. Robert Luther said, "Sometimes the abandoned house do cause a problem with law enforcement. That's why we do go out and check. When the code enforcement officers go we will sometimes go out with them and check. We find people inside."
The problem is not unique to Glenwood. Last year Panama City code enforcement officers responded to more 93 complaints of unfit or unsafe structures.
"A residence that's not lived in is not against city code. There's a lot of houses that are vacant due to the economy and foreclosures and such."
Residents want to know why th city isn't doing more to clean up those cases.
"These house need to be torn down and the police don't do anything about it.," added Williams. "They see these people walking up and down the streets, and it's scary."
Luther Said, "It's not the city's responsibility, it's the homeowners. It's the private property owners. It's their responsibility. And when there's inaction that's when we have to step in."