MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
Whether it's homes that are a shell of their former selves, abandoned buildings, or overgrown lots, blight impacts much of Memphis in some way.
"The definition of blight is very different, depending on who you ask,” Robert Knecht said. “For what we in the city primarily focus on is basically private property conditions, and then the other thing is illegal dumping and litter."
Though many residents call 311, many still aren’t sure who is responsible. The city says it depends on who owns the property.
If it's vacant or occupied property, it has to first be identified as public or private property and if is privately owned it is up to the owner to maintain that property. If the owner doesn't properly maintain that property, it could result in penalties such as tickets, fines, and community service.
"Shelby County owns quite a few properties and parcels in the city of Memphis through the land bank,” Knecht said. “And we can't touch that. We can only refer that to them."
Along with covert cameras and a blight task force used to assist in the cleanup of affected areas, the city is asking all residents to play their part when it comes to keeping Memphis communities clean.
"If everybody would just help clean up the litter in front of their house, think of what would happen,” Knecht said. "I think we're asking the citizens to be our partner and help us to solve these kinds of issues by their participation and to be involved in their community."