Days after a 13-year-old Dallas girl was found dead inside an abandoned home, the City of Austin is taking action to try and prevent a similar tragedy.

Inspectors with the city's Code Department plan to revisit abandoned homes in South Austin to make sure owners are maintaining them properly.

In Dallas, neighbors in the Oak Cliff section continue to mourn for Shavon Randle. Court records show she was held for ransom in a scheme involving drugs, robbery, and money. She was missing for several days until police found her body in this vacant house.

Austin's Code Department says they, too, have seen old homes turn into hot spots for crime.

"We would call APD out to help us access the situation in terms of if it's a criminal offense or any kind of criminal element that we need them to be there, and then we proceed with our normal procedure to have that property secured and repaired," said Assistant Division Manager John Christophe. Inspectors then keep on top of the case to make sure the owner maintains the property.

These days, though, Christophe says our booming real estate market pretty much ensures these eyesores don't stay around for long.

"With the growth of the city a lot of demolitions are happening based on population growth," he added.
Christophe encourages anyone who notices an abandoned house to call 311, or 911 if they suspect criminal activity.