Vacant building attracts crime in Austin neighborhood

1500 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Imagine your neighbors going to the bathroom outside or sleeping on the lawn. That’s exactly what some people say they’re seeing at a vacant building in Austin.

The old flea market at 1500 S. Pleasant Valley Road has boarded-up windows, empty beer bottles, and graffiti all over. They’re not pleasant sights to those walking by the building and surrounding lot.

“A lot more illegal homeless camping, a lot more consumption of alcohol, drugs.”

A man KXAN spoke with, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation from trespassers, lives in the apartments behind the building. He says he constantly sees people breaking the law on the property on South Pleasant Valley Road, near Riverside.

Neighbors said they see the most loitering in the front of the building. The doors are locked but there are mattresses and socks on the ground and there’s a strong smell of urine.

Austin Police are familiar with this spot. Over the last month, they’ve received four calls, ranging from drug-use to trespassing.

Sgt. Richard Ellsworth with APD, says they rely on the public to help let them know about illegal activity. “Because they’re the ones here every day seeing people hanging out.”

Even with police presence, neighbors say the problems continue.

“It’s an eyesore, the neighborhood is getting better, but this area here creates a negative image,” said the neighbor.

Officers believe this is a transitional problem that will likely go away, once the building is sold and brought back to life.

The current property owner tells KXAN they have crews pick up trash there about once a month. They also tell us the property is very close to being sold and developed with new apartments, to help revitalize the area.

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