Homicide at troubled building epitomizes neighborhood's struggle - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Homicide at troubled building epitomizes neighborhood's struggle

MADISON (WKOW) -- For some residents of West Badger Road on Madison's south side, the homicide in the building at 910, is just an escalation of other problems on the street.

"I used to call the police constantly because we constantly had drug dealing and prostitution, arguments and fighting,"  neighborhood resident Bob Shelton told 27 News.   Shelton said he's taking his young son and family to the city's north side.   "I'm moving out, hopefully at the end of the month."

Neighborhood resident and community activist Stuart Seffern cautioned the homicide reflected more on a private, domestic relationship than it did on the Burr Oaks neighborhood.   But Seffern told 27 News the violence may also be a symptom of absentee, indifferent property management.    "This entire neighborhood has tried very hard to do alot better than it was just a few years ago, and in every way it's succeeded, except for (a) handful of properties."

Seffern said the neighborhood's spray pool and its well managed buildings were examples of the neighborhood's growing assests.  But Seffern said problem buildings have driven tenants out of nearby residences, and prompted responsible landlords to try to sell their properties.

"There was a time when 78 police calls in a single month was at this property (910 West Badger Road)."   Seffern claimed the property's owner has failed to sufficiently check out prospective tenants.   "If you don't qualify them properly, you're going to continue to have this type of problem."

27 News tried to contact the property's owner, Li Zhang, at her Fitchburg home, but no one responded, or called with comment.

The neighborhood's alderman, Madison Common Council president Tim Bruer, told 27 News he considers several properties on West Badger Road as magnets for crime.   Bruer said he wanted to reinforce ongoing efforts by city officials to work through the courts to have the properties declared drug houses and be taken over by the city, or fined heavily for nuisance violations.   Bruer said he hoped judges in these actions would be "street smart" in assessing the response to chronic law enforcement issues at the buildings. 

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