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High Point homeowners hope home repairs prevent crime

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- “We get the perception that nobody cares. It's that broken window theory, you know this property nobody takes care of it and then it's going to escalate to the next property and it's that feeling that nobody cares, we really do get lost in the shuffle,” says Jerry Mingo, who has lived in the Burns Hill neighborhood of High Point for more than 50 years.

Change is on the horizon for the people living in Mingo’s neighborhood. The area is known for vacant houses and boarded windows. Last week a man was shot and killed outside his home on Lake Drive. Police have not made any arrests.

Operation Inasmuch is a city-funded program that’s carried out by volunteers. Burns Hill will be the second neighborhood in High Point that’s attracted the program, which makes homes safer, more functional and better looking.

“A lot of folks have to choose between paying their mortgage, paying their utility bills and buying their medicine so repairing their home never happens,” explains Mike McNair, director of High Point Community Development and Housing.

The project will identify about 60 homeowners in the neighborhood and help them do anything from remove trash to clear out over grown vegetation. Mingo says the neighborhood’s appearance is too inviting for criminals, “that feeling of security and you feel more comfortable when your surroundings are better,” he said.

“A lot of these houses breed crime.  People go there doing drugs or other illegal activities,” Mingo explained. But Mingo and others in the neighborhood say they can’t stand the crime anymore. Volunteers with the program will repair windows, paint, install handicapped ramps and fix plumbing and flooring. Mingo hopes Operation Inasmuch will have a ripple effect.

“When we see these houses taken care of, I think some of the property owners even if they are not affected by Inasmuch I think they will start to clean up their properties,” he said.