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Foreclosures Cause Many Problems
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Foreclosures have hit Riverbank hard like every other place. Driving around town, you cannot help but notice the forlorn signs, the empty homes sometimes located several in a row, the once green lawns turning brown in the heat.

Estimating the numbers of foreclosures within the city is difficult. But the City of Riverbank has a map compiled from title company reports that attempts to show the number and approximate location of foreclosures.

"We have 191 dots on this map. It needs updating. This is a figure from three weeks ago. There are more coming in every day," said City Clerk Linda Abid-Cummings.

While they appear to be clustered in the Crossroads area, the newest and most expensive area of residential development, foreclosures are scattered all over town including a considerable number in the Sterling Homes development on South Roselle Avenue and in the States Streets. Some of the dots even lie in the long established River Cove subdivision and the oldest parts of the city to the northeast between the Stanislaus River and Patterson Road.

Estimating 3.5 people per household, that means 700 people or a sizeable chunk of the city's 20,000 residents are looking for a new home, Abid-Cummings added.

Council briefly discussed several months ago the possibility of vandals, burglars and vagrants moving in on empty homes apart from the negative effect that neglected lawns and buildings have on neighbors' property values.

Police Chief Tim Beck acknowledged some investment owners and property management companies have called about burglars and squatters and the police "deal with reports" as they come in.

"But there are so many foreclosed homes around, some have signs and some don't, there are too many for us to patrol," Beck said. "We can't be trying all the doorknobs. We tell them it's their property and their responsibility."

He did ask neighbors, however, to be good neighbors and report any suspicious activity they see at an empty house and promised a deputy will respond.

Neighborhood Improvement Officer Michelle Garcia has found her duties much increased by the foreclosures.

"Boarding up places has not been necessary yet. There are only about 20 places in bad shape. We've been lucky compared with most towns," she said.