TAMPA - The kidnapping and attack of a 14-year-old boy is prompting efforts to clean up crime in the neighborhood. Police say 47-year-old Steven James Taylor lured, then sexually battered the teen, in a shed on 28th Avenue on Tuesday night.
Code Enforcement officers tore down the shed Thursday. Pieces of it are piled up in the backyard, behind an abandoned home.
The Ybor Heights area, where the crime happened, is Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick's district. Reddick said, "We have so many abandoned homes and overgrown lots that you are going to have any individual looking for an opportunity to utilize those facilities to become squatters. They're looking for a place to live."
Code enforcement officials say Tampa has more than 4,000 foreclosed properties and they have a hard time maintaining them all. Since 1990, Code Enforcement responded to 13 complaints about this home on 28th Avenue.
But, they weren't enough for them to legally condemn the home and slate it for demolition. So it's up to neighbors to keep reporting anything suspicious.
Councilmen Reddick said, "If you see anyone that looks like a stranger. Not a part of your community, that you need to reach out and call police. Let TPD know about it, reach out and call police. Let TPD know about it."
Cristino Fontnez lives around the corner from where the crime took place. Fontnez said, "My wife and I, we feel so bad and we start thinking because this is supposed to be a good neighborhood. We need some more watch around here."
That's what Ybor Heights Neighborhood Board Member Jon Dengler also told ABC Action News. He hopes more residents joining his neighborhood association, so they can start a neighborhood watch program. For more information about the neighborhood association, you can call Jon at (813) 451-0988.
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