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County and city's tactics for monitoring homes differ

Violence taking place at vacant Southeast Bakersfield property
Posted at 6:24 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 13:47:18-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA. — Armando Ricanqui lives on Lomita Drive in Southeast Bakersfield, just down the block from a vacant home causing concern for neighbors.

"Someone really needs to do something to do something because afraid for my family," Ricanqui said.

Neighbors have pleaded for change following a double murder at the home in 2018.

Most recently, sheriffs arrested 26-year-old David Valles, a homeless man, for stabbing and killing a man at the home on Monday.

Neighbors said homeless people and drug users entered the home that was boarded up by County Code Compliance in November 2018.

23ABC learned the Kern County Sheriff's Office has responded to the home more than 45 times since July 2018.

Kern County officials said it's KCSO's responsibility to respond to reports of squatters at tagged homes.

As of now, sheriff's deputies are the only law enforcement agency actively monitoring abandoned homes in the county.

"Occasionally, for properties that we know have been condemned or abandoned or where for criminal use, we might go and proactively make sure they are not using those properties," said Angela Monroe, public information officer for the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

That was the case for the home off Lomita Drive, deputies said they checked on the home eleven times since July 2018.

Kern County Code Compliance said they are unable to monitor homes after they are tagged because there are too many in the county.

That compared to the city, where code enforcement officials said they check on tagged homes every 90 days.

If there are issues of squatters at a vacant or abandoned home, city code enforcement typically takes the lead on the call. The Bakersfield Police Department will assist if necessary.

For now, neighbors on Lomita Drive remain frustrated with the violence erupting from that vacant house.

"They need to fix this, that is why they are paying taxes, so something needs to be done," Ricanqui said.