LAS VEGAS -- Residents of Mountain Vista Estates in the east Las Vegas valley have joined forces with Metro Police and Clark County to make landlords more accountable to the neighborhood.
A walk through the neighborhood at Mountain Vista Street and Vegas Valley Drive revealed an area in neglect. Dead birds, debris and trash are strewn about the neighborhood.
Metro officer Shaun Woodard was among about 40 other local law enforcement and county inspectors checking for health and safety violations they blame on irresponsible landlords.
"This is how people are forced to live -- driving around their Dumpsters," Woodard said. "That's unforgivable. These owners must be held accountable."
In one apartment, Woodard said officers found a woman and three children living in an apartment with three broken smoke detectors.
The landlord never fixed them, he said.
In another apartment unit, a steel bar sealed a window shut, a safety hazard that could trap people if there ever was a fire.
Serious problems such as drugs, shootings and other crimes is something the neighborhood also sees on a regular basis.
"There's a lot of new gangs here," resident Trina Cooper said. "You don't even know where they come from."
Cooper said she's scared to allow her children to play outside, but inside her apartment she and her neighbors are also fighting for better living conditions.
"What choice do you have if you can't afford to move?" Cooper said. "You have no choice but to pay them … and live with all the hazards."
Woodard said the police department wants to eliminate those hazards by forcing landlords to step up or pay hefty fines, but first people must speak up about run-down properties.
"Come forward, let us know," he said. "We'll inspect and contact the right people and get the problem solved."
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