City of Berkeley may evict problem homeowners

BERKELEY, Calif.

This would not be a typical eviction because the city is threatening to evict the owners of the home. But the city says it's been done before, under extreme circumstances, and this one qualifies.

A city of Berkeley report says 15 people with criminal histories call the place home. Arrests have been made here for guns, drug dealing and fighting.

One neighbor said they were petrified "because they have guns and the house is full of criminals."

Finally, 18 neighbors got the city to declare the home a nuisance. Now the owners must follow strict conditions or be evicted. Neighbors say the woman who approached our camera the owner's daughter. She declined an interview.

"Well, these are fairly scary people. Half of them have been in jail," said Tom Turman. For 37 years, he has lived next door and he says he tried to get police to do something. "And their response basically is 'What do you want us to do? Have you seen them selling dope? Do you have proof? Do you have photographs?' So they can't do anything until we have absolute proof."

In just the last 18 months, the city says the home has generated more than 40 crime-related reports, but now, a simple police report could force an eviction.

"It's really amazing. It's a series of screw ups," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. He says red flags should have been raised a long time ago. "The police are keeping a log, but somehow it never gets put together that there's a real problem."

An attorney, working with the homeowner says the grandsons who were causing most of the problems have been removed from the home. The city will take a final vote on a resolution to impose consequences on May 29th.

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