Monday, October 17, 2011

Still squatting in Southeast Queens

From the NY Times:

The boarded-up homes that changed the face of Jamaica, Queens, in recent years were bad enough, the flotsam of the record wave of housing foreclosures that roared through the streets like nowhere else in New York City.

But those vacant homes are now recalled almost fondly. For nature, as the saying goes, abhors a vacuum, and so do criminals. The police and neighbors say those vacant homes are filling with drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, gang members, squatters and copper thieves.

The police do not keep statistics specifically on crime rates involving foreclosed homes. But Inspector Marmara said his officers had seen a rise both in vacant homes and in crimes occurring in those homes — like theft of copper pipes for scrap, which has spiked in the last year.

It is not uncommon for a team of officers to research property records for an address — in hope of tracking down an owner to make a complaint — only to find another foreclosure, he said.

People who live on these blocks said criminals flocked to newly vacant homes that were taken in foreclosure.

Councilman James Sanders Jr., who represents a nearby Queens district, said the problem was growing. “And why wouldn’t it happen?” he said. “We’re seeing activities where people are having strip shows in these homes.” Jamaica’s councilman, Leroy G. Comrie Jr., said: “I just drove by a house we boarded up, and it’s open again and there are squatters living there. It fell into foreclosure because the developer ran out of money.”


georgetheatheist said...

"We're seeing activities where people are having strip shows in these homes". -Councilman Leroy Comrie

AND we Queens Crappers are seeing activities where the wife of Leroy Comrie, Marcia Moxam Comrie, is a columnist and editor for the Press of Southeast Queens, the sister publication of the Queens Tribune which publishes classified whore ads.

Anonymous said...

There is blame enough to go around on this situation but, banks cynically lent money to unqualified individuals in order to package a quantity of loans and pass them off as a commodity to third party investors.

THAT is the direct result of the 1999 banking "reform" act.

you ought to read this article from the PBS Newshour dated 11-3-99.

It gives a decent history of what laws had been repealed with that act, and the comments of one Frank Torres of Consumer's Union are prophetic.

What made all this so bad was the republican's insistence on banning the government from oversight of these new instruments the banks and investment rating agencies created.

At this point, we have the natural result of an unregulated market. tons of less-then-desirable houses in marginal areas -empty and deteriorating.

Say what you will about "people getting away with something" -it would be better for the banks (and whomever now actually holds the paper) to renegotiate with current mortgage holders than to evict them.

It'll be at least two decades before these old houses are worth what was paid back in the frenzy. Face up to it and take the loss.

FlushingRepresenter said...

Maybe un"honest Joe Crowley" (the irish criminal) could get a crow bar and break into one of those foreclosed homes. After some time squatting he could actually say that he lives in QUeens.

Anonymous said...

Bulldoze them or seal them up with brick and mortar.

Anonymous said...

Charge the squatters taxes, and watch them flee!

Anonymous said...

Anon likes to omit facts. The feds induced major banks to loan to unqualified buyers thru the community reinvestment act. The loans were pooled and bought by the feds thru fannie mae and freddie mac.

To say that the feds didnt regulate the banks for the loans they encouraged them to make and subsequently bought, seems kinda silly.

And now you argue that banks werent regulated enough?

Anonymous said...

"And now you argue that banks werent regulated enough?"

Oh, the righteous indignation.

It is ridiculous to pretend that the 1977 CRA was responsible for what happened 20+ years later. Conservative took to this ruse after things hit the fan in 2008 and blame was firmly affixed to a republican bill: Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999 set for conditions that took off restrictions that had protected consumers for six decades. They also cynically forbade the SEC from regulating these new "ventures" -this closing the henhouse door with the fox inside.