Burned body found behind abandoned Cleveland house

Neighbors say vacant buildings are breeding crime

CLEVELAND - An autopsy is scheduled Thursday on a body found Wednesday morning behind a vacant house on Bayliss Avenue in Cleveland. Police said the body was burned so badly that they don't know whether it is the body of a man or a woman.

Just a few feet away, Jermaine Wiggins wonders what's happening to the neighborhood where he has lived for 13 years.

"This street was never known to be a street like that," he said. "It was never known to be a street that's crime infested and now it is."

Wiggins said he makes regular calls to the city about all the abandoned houses on his street in hopes of getting them torn down.

"No telling what these people are doing in these abandoned houses," he said.

For Ward 7 Councilman T. J. Dow,  it's an ongoing problem that has gotten worse.

"We have to have more resources," he said. "We have to have more money and even manpower put behind trying to bring down some of these abandoned houses in our community."

Dow said there were 800 to 900 vacant structures in his ward when he took office. Some have come down but then others became vacant.

"I can't say the crime would not have occurred if there wasn't an abandoned building there," he said, "but I think it does not help at all."

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