Indianapolis—Foreclosures and abandoned homes are taking over some neighborhoods in central Indiana. For example, one neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis has an entire city block where only six homes have people living in them.
The remaining 10 are abandoned. That creates concern for people who do live there, like Toni Perez. She said the weeds serve as a hiding spot for criminals and could also catch fire.
"You're going to have the drug dealers, you're going to have the prostitution, and you're going to have the thieves, because it looks like a place for them to be," Perez said.
She has two kids, but won't let them outside for fear of what lurks nearby in the virtual ghost town overrun by weeds.
"I don't want somebody grabbing me from over there, hiding. They could rob you, (there is) a potential for anything," Perez said.
If a pipe or cigarette drops, the whole neighborhood will burn, Perez said.
"If it catches on fire, all of them are going to go, because nobody lives in them, nobody is going to know," she said.
Some of the weeds are at least 7 feet high. Private contractors working for the city cut some of the weeds, but not the tall ones.
"They came out, they said it was on their list, they said if it was over five feet tall, they wouldn't touch it," Perez said.
However, all she has to do is file a complaint with the Mayor's Action Center. Doing that opens up an investigation case, said Kate Johnson with the City of Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement.
"We have vendors that have special equipment that can take care of those types of situations," Johnson said.
Perez hopped online to get it started and it only took a few minutes to file several complaints.
Anything more than 12 inches high can be cut down by workers from the Department of Code Enforcement, Johnson said.
The property owner has five days to do it. If they don't, it is assigned to a mowing vendor. The bill goes to the owner, not tax payers.
"If the property owner does not voluntarily pay the invoice, it is filed as a lien against the property," Johnson said.
While Perez is cautiously optimistic something will be done, we got word that the weeds will be down within 18 days.
"Me trying to do it myself, it'd probably be shoved back into another pile, but with action from somebody else, they might come out and do it," Perez said.
"We'll take care of it, absolutely," Johnson said.
More than 15,000 investigations have taken place since May to check for high weeds and grass. Mowing is happening six days a week, Johnson said.
The services are mostly complaint driven, so you typically have to request their help, Johnson said. More than 15,000 inspections have been completed this year, Johnson said.
The cost to property owners is $353 no matter the job. $65 of that goes to the vendor to cut the grass.
You can call the Mayor's Action Center at (317) 327-4MAC or click here. Click on the "Environmental Concerns" link to open up an investigation.
If you're looking for help with junk, trash, debris and boarding, contact the Marion County Health Department at (317) 221-2000.