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Neighbors renew push to tear down crime-ridden properties

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A Mobile city councilman is joining up with neighbors who are sick of three crime-ridden properties on South Broad St.

Neighbors want the houses torn down, but the new property owner is promising yet again tonight to clean up the problems.

These properties have been known as a police hot spot. The new property owner admits there have been problems here, but he says he just needs more time to fix it up.

"Please, city council and the mayor, give us help and have those properties removed," said an anonymous neighbor.

One woman who did not want to be identified is pleading for the city to get rid of 259, 261, and 263 South Broad St.

"Sometimes I do come home around 10 or 11, and you will see ladies standing on the corner, so I am afraid," she said.

NBC 15 first told you about the problems here when neighbors called us in May.

Councilman Lavon Manzie tells NBC 15 news he "absolutely and wholeheartedly agrees with residents that the properties should be vacated and torn down."

He supports the neighbors' quest.

Many told NBC 15 off camera that this property should have been shut down years ago.

"It has been a nuisance for many years. I have been trying for more than 30 years to have those buildings torn down. We had prostitution, fightings, stabbings, shootings," the neighbor said.

Randall Pitre bought these buildings in September for more than $450,000 and told NBC 15 he planned to clean them up.

Today, we saw a roofing crew repairing the roof at 259 S. Broad.

There are also 15 cameras installed throughout the properties. The new owner says he's connected them to Mobile Police's Project Shield Program. We asked a neighbor if she's noticed a difference.

"I have not seen any," she said.

Current tenant Samuel Allen admits there have been problems in the past, but says he's noticed a dramatic change.

"There was a lot of drugs, a lot of activity here. A lot of people going to jail. We stayed in our rooms. There were a lot of shootings. It's a lot better than what it was," Allen said.

We asked Allen and another tenant if the drug and prostitution problem still existed.

"No m a'am. A lot of people moved out," said Allen.

"Oh no ain't no drug problem here no more. Ain't no drug dealers coming around no more," he said.

The new owner says he believes there should be more low-income houses in the community and that he is simply trying to help people. He asks to give him a few more months to clean up the property.