KCPD's East Patrol Initiative seeks to demolish vacant houses

Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 23:22:18-05

Empty lots filled with trash and abandoned homes with dozens of code violations, that's the reality for one metro woman.

Drive through Brighton Avenue off of 23rd Street and the scenery is trash and boarded-up homes.

Mary Mittenfelner is tired of seeing it, she's lived on this block for 27 years.

"If you look at that site you can see cars with no doors, trash, mattresses and everything. How can codes miss that?" she said.

The 79-year-old woman is constantly calling 311 for help.  But says there's only so much she can do for herself and her neighbors.

Next to Mittenfelner's house, she has to deal with a vacant home, a vacant lot and two additional vacant properties. 

One of them, located at 2330 Brighton Avenue, has received more than two dozen violations since 2012.

"It's so disheartening and I'm not the only one fighting this battle," Mittenfelner said.

She's not.

This week the new commander of the Kansas City Police Department's East Patrol, Major Jim Thomas, addressed the issue to council members.

"As I drive around East Patrol, I see trash and I see blight all over the place," Thomas told the KCMO neighborhoods and public safety committee.

Thomas is overseeing an initiative called "Demolition Eight" led by KCPD Captain Ryan Mills.

Using crime data they pick out eight vacant houses to demolish.

"If you feel better about your neighborhood, you got a little bit more pride in it and maybe you're going to do more to fight violent crime in your neighborhood," Mills said.

As one vacant house comes off the list, another gets added with residents having a say as to which one.

"We have to work in the community not only in identifying those locations but also cleaning up those locations," Mills said.

Back at Mittenfelner's house, the city's neighborhoods and housing services department told 41 Action News Friday they've met with her several times and they'll continue to monitor the situation.

"They need to be ahead of it they know where these dump spots are so let's put a stop to it," Mittenfelner said.