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Salt Lake Police warn about squatters in vacant homes

SALT LAKE CITY — Empty homes can be a hot spot for crimes which is why police are asking neighbors to watch out for squatters.

Vacant homes or homes for sale that are sitting empty can be a prime target.

“They’ll break into it or access it if it’s not secure, and stay there,” said Detective Michael Ruff.

Police say it can lead to drug problems or even fires in those homes.

Some neighborhood watch groups have been connecting with police on this issue. For example, one warning online says it’s a problem from Brickyard to I-80 (roughly from Millcreek to Sugarhouse).

But Detective Ruff says it’s a problem throughout the city and state.

“It’s something I’d ask all our citizens to be aware of, whether you own a property and its vacant, or if you live around one of those vacant properties,” he said.

Officers say people can help out by calling their police department’s non-emergency line and reporting something that seems wrong.

If your home is going to be empty for a while, Ruff says make sure neighbors know so they can keep an eye on it.

“Make sure it’s well-secured, make sure you still have the lights working on it so it’s not dark at night, making it easier for people to get around undetected,” he said.