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Neighbors Say City Paid Little Attention To Weeded Property, Until Body Was Found

Police tape marks the scene of where human remains were found in an abandoned Calumet Heights property. (CBS)

Police tape marks the scene of where human remains were found in an abandoned Calumet Heights property. (CBS)

Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Weeds as tall as trees. Trash. Human remains, at least in one case.

Those are the troubling finds at abandoned properties in Chicago’s Calumet Heights neighborhood.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports neighbors are asking why it takes so long to get the homes cleaned up.

Medical gloves still lay among tangled weeds and mark the spot where a utility worker found decaying human remains Oct. 23.

There was a body hidden in mess of overgrowth at a vacant home neighbors say they’d complained about for months.

“We complained about this. We made 3-1-1 calls. I took these same pictures to my alderman’s office,” neighborhood activist Annette Steele says.

The city of Chicago’s Department of Buildings says they didn’t received complaints until the day the body was found.

On the night the body was discovered behind the home at 9127 Harper, the weeds were so thick you couldn’t see the house. A week and a half later, visibility had improved somewhat.

The Buildings Department they found four vacant homes in the area that needed to be cleaned up.

Steele has collected photos of some filled with garbage and worse.

“This is also like a hotel, a hangout for neighborhood addicts,” she says.

Over the weekend, police confiscated a gun and bullets found in a vacant house near 78th and South Damen.

It’s the kind of thing neighbors back over in Calumet Heights say makes them fear what kind of contraband they may stumble over next.

Chicago banks that hold mortgages on the properties are required by city ordinance to keep the grass and weeds below 10 inches. CBS 2 is told the city is wading through the legal process with the homes on South Harper.

“It makes the neighborhood bad, too. If the bank owns them, come take care of them. If the city knows about it, come take care of it,” Steele says.

Chicago banks that hold mortgages on the properties are required by city ordinance to keep the grass and weeds below 10 inches. CBS 2 is told the city is wading through the legal process with the homes on South Harper.