According to an article in the Star-Telegram, foreclosed homes and commercial buildings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are remaining vacant for a lot longer which may cause a rise in crime.

The article said:

“One of the worst things you can have in your neighborhood is a boarded-up building,” said Brandon Bennett, director of Fort Worth’s code enforcement department. “It attracts crime.”

Mr. Bennett’s observations are keen; but we’ve seen this problem coming. With the number of foreclosures rising and spreading to the commercial real estate sector the sheer number of vacant homes and buildings is bound to negatively affect communities. And the problem of vacant, boarded up foreclosed homes and buildings is getting worse as the economy worsens.

“In late 2008, we started seeing a shift,” he said. “We’re seeing more residential structures boarded up for three to six months. The economy has shifted, so has our strategy. Residential was driving this greatly for us, but now we’re seeing more of the strip malls having more vacancies than in the past.”

We’ve mentioned the coming blight of foreclosed retail real estate on this blog before. With the number of job losses in the millions, many of these retail establishments simply will not surviving facing bankruptcy and/or closure. Who will rent these foreclosed properties? Much of the commercial real estate sector is simply overbuilt so many will remain vacant for extended periods of time and may need to be converted. Converted to what? At this point, I don’t know. Often commercial real estate is converted to residential housing once it’s no longer commercially viable. But with the glut of residential housing caused by foreclosure, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.