Florence city leaders demolish abandoned houses in attempt to reduce crime

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. -- (WMBF) - Florence city leaders are using $500,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act funds to demolish abandoned houses.

The demolition program allows the city to reduce crime, beautify the city and reduce health hazards.

Daniel Sparks lives near one of the houses being demolished on East Liberty Street.

The neighborhood he lives in has deteriorated over the years. He says these houses have brought nothing but crime to his neighborhood.

“There are more places to run and hide from cops, it’s really a problem. A very big problem,” said Sparks. “The more they are gone the better it is for all of us.”

According to the Florence Police Department documentation for District 6, where Sparks lives, this year there have been 833 reported criminal offenses.

“When they are dilapidated and vacant it’s often an invitation for drug activities, homelessness and there’s an accumulation of trash. That can also bring in vermin,” said Florence Police Department Capt. Mike Brandt.

Construction workers are now demolishing four abandoned houses scattered within the city that qualified for the program.

The planning director for the City of Florence, Jerry Dudley, has a list of houses that qualify to be demolished.

“Structures like these that are scattered throughout the city really bring down our community,” said Dudley. “Property owners often can’t afford to take them down.”

The demolition program allows the city to reduce crime, beautify the city and reduce health hazards, and Dudley is offering money to demolish unused houses to anyone who owns one.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals to work with the city and get their properties taken down,” said Dudley.

People can find more information by calling the Florence community service department at 843-665-3175.

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