An abandoned home in the Queens borough of New York City has become a house of horrors for neighbors who claim that gang members have taken over the property and turned it into a "den of violence," the Daily News reported.
"It's been a disaster for the past few years," said one neighbor, who declined to be named. "People go in and out of the house constantly because there are parties. It's loud. It's a total mess."
The neighbor told the New York newspaper that he's called police a dozen times in the past year, but "cops said they can't do anything about it." He added that police told him that members of the Bloods gang are living there.
A mother of three who lives in the neighborhood said that she's been living in fear since recent violence erupted at the home.
"There was blood on the sidewalk," she told the Daily News. "I was scared to leave the house.
"We cannot even stand in front of our home," she continued. "We never feel safe leaving the house because people are always fighting or breaking bottles."
The home is connected to an infamous murder in March 2011. A group of teenagers were throwing a party there when uninvited guests reportedly showed up and chased 18-year-old Anthony Collao after he left the house, shouting anti-gay slurs at him. The group then allegedly beat Collao so severely that he eventually died. Six teens were charged in his death and are awaiting trial.
The home appears to have been completely abandoned and isn't owned by a bank or by the City of New York, public records show. The most recent owner was Hector Sanchez, but other records indicate that as of March 2012, he was no longer associated with the property. The city's Department of Buildings has no certificates of occupancy on file.
A sharp rise in vacant homes has plagued many areas around the country since the housing bubble burst, contributing to crime. Earlier this year, an apparently vacant house that caught fire in Southern California was found to be the site of a huge marijuana operation. And many vacant homes have fallen victim to "Sharpie parties," in which partygoers trash the dwellings and write all over their walls with permanent markers.
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