NWI Murders Highlight Gary’s Blight
October 24, 2014 — GARY (AP) — The arrest of a 43-year-old Gary man who police say confessed to killing seven women has put a spotlight on the large number of vacant homes in Gary and other U.S. cities that have faced hard times.
Darren Vann has been charged in two of the seven killings. Six of the bodies were found in abandoned houses in Gary, where they had gone unnoticed. Officials say the estimated 10,000 abandoned dwellings in Gary serve as magnets for drug dealers and squatters seeking cover for criminal acts. In Illinois, investigators have been checking vacant buildings in Chicago’s south suburbs as they track Vann’s movements.
Eliminating blight — and cutting the crime associated with abandoned buildings — has been a focus in Detroit, which has over 40,000 vacant and abandoned houses.