(NationalUSNews.com) — According to residents in Winter Park, Florida, squatters in the neighborhood are turning the area into a nightmare. The residents claim that the police know about the squatters’ presence, but due to local policy, the police cannot take action and evict them.
In one neighborhood, squatters moved into a house in June when the homeowners began traveling abroad and have since blocked the house’s windows and are using its driveway for their car. Residents in the neighborhood reached out to local property management to ask about the suspicious new residents, but the management team didn’t have any information. Following this initial inquiry, police raided the home and sent the squatters running throughout the neighborhood and jumping fences.
Since the squatters took up residence in the abandoned house, police have responded to calls in the area 14 times in four months. Despite the repeated disturbances, local police cannot take action against the illegal squatters. According to residents in the area, the police’s attempts to take action are being halted by the squatters producing false lease paperwork. Despite police lacking the ability to arrest the squatters, according to residents, the police are actively patrolling the neighborhood frequently.
Squatting is becoming a growing issue nationwide, especially in states like Florida. One such squatting incident occurred in Fort Lauderdale, where ten squatters occupied a $1 million home and left it infested with insects, causing damage throughout the interior. The incident in question isn’t the only occurrence in Florida, as squatters regularly occupy different areas across the state and cause great concern among residents. Despite the growing issue of squatting across the Sunshine State, elected officials aren’t enacting policies that make removing those illegally occupying property easier for local authorities.
Other problems, including heavy drug use, often accompany squatters wherever they go. Squatters are often addicts and bring increased crime rates to the areas they occupy. One example is the now infamous “meth island” incident, where police dismantled various booby traps and makeshift structures squatters built on an island in Port Orange, Florida. Despite increasing public concern, Florida officials like Ron DeSantis aren’t commenting on any potential policy changes to reduce the prevalence of squatters within the state.
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