Local group working to cap crime by tearing down abandoned buildings

Detroit Crime Commission trying to attack problem

DETROIT - Investigators are trying to determine what happened to an 18-year-old woman who was found dead in Detroit. At the same time, one group is suing to get the abandoned building where she was found torn down.

Thousands of abandoned buildings litter the city of Detroit and the Detroit Crime Commission, which is a civilian group, is trying to attack the problem.

"We work with individuals in neighborhoods throughout the city to file lawsuits on their behalf to get the owners of these abandoned properties to understand that they have a responsibility to their neighbors," said Ron Reddy of the Detroit Crime Commission.

With places like the Gomar Building, where the body of that teenage woman was found on Tuesday, the owner does not live there and does not have to deal with the threat or crime every night.

"I would like to assume that they don't understand the impact. I like to give them the benefit of the doubt," said Ellis Stafford of the Detroit Crime Commission.

"We try and work with the owners of these properties. We'll send them a letter; we'll ask them to do this voluntarily. It's only as a last resort that we would tie up the court system," said Reddy.

"We want to raise the level of awareness," said Stafford.

Abandoned buildings make a perfect environment for crime.

"We want to help create an environment where that is a hostile environment for the criminal element. That is the goal," said Stafford.

The 18-year-old woman who was found dead has not been identified. An autopsy is being performed on her body.

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