The increased vacant properties in a central Tempe neighborhood have raised residents' awareness of suspicious or criminal behavior.
The tree-lined Maple Ash District is adjacent to downtown Tempe and is southwest of the busy intersection of Mill Avenue and University Drive.
And although longtime homeowners say the pattern is not new, people's heightened sensitivity and the recession's impact is.
Homeowner Michael Hendrickson has lived in the area for 16 years. He said the frequency of transients wandering through the neighborhood is not unusual when compared to previous years, although he said lately there seems to have been more issues with the indigent trespassing on private property than in the past. He believes there is a connection to houses that remain empty.
"It's highlighted more than in the past because there are more vacancies in the neighborhood. Some of it is probably the economy," said Hendrickson, who also owns rental property in the area.
About a month ago, Hendrickson was awakened by the sound of a homeless woman going through items in one of his tenants' parked vehicles. When confronted, the woman started yelling and cursing, Hendrickson said.
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