What To Do About Squatters

What To Do About Squatters
Posted on 10/07/2015
The problem of “squatting” could happen anywhere. It did happen earlier this summer near the intersection of Creek and Danish Roads. It started with a bank-owned home that had been vacated by the owners.

The house was not empty for long before it was taken over by squatters. The situation came to a head after a 911 call reporting an altercation between a man who was allegedly pointing a gun at a woman in a car parked in a driveway. Adding to the tense situation was an uncooperative and combative suspect in the kitchen, and a SWAT team doing an exercise in the area.

With a search warrant, a drug sniffing dog and the SWAT team, officers entered the home. What officers found didn’t surprise them, but it did surprise the neighbors: stolen trailers from Holladay and Texas, generators from a local construction company, several motorcycles and cars. One officer remembered a recent burglary case reporting stolen vintage video games. All the games were found in a stolen car in the driveway.

A conversation with Assistant Chief Paul Brenneman pointed out the red flags that all neighbors should be aware of.

• Neighbors, get to know normal activity of your community. People coming and going at odd, unusual hours is often a sign of foul play.

• People hanging around smoking when you know your neighbors don’t smoke.

• House seems empty but there’s no “For Sale” sign and no indication that the house has changed hands.
• Accumulating mail and newspapers.

• Lawn dies from lack of watering or lawn overgrows from lack of attention.

• All these changes in the character of a home could take weeks or months.

If you think someone is living in a vacant home illegally, Brenneman encourages you to call the non-emergency number 801-840-4000. Officers are eager to check on what could develop into unlawful situations.