DC Tests Steel Screens to Secure Vacant Properties

WASHINGTON -- D.C. is exploring a new method to protect vacant properties from vandalism and illegal activity, Mayor Adrian Fenty said.

Fenty introduced a pilot program to install reusable steel screens on the windows and doors of properties. He made the announcement Friday outside a vacant building on Rhode Island Avenue in northeast Washington.

Steel is more effective than the plywood currently used to secure vacant properties, officials said.

The city is taking public comments on the steel system for 60 days. The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will then consider proposing legislation that requires use of the steel paneling.

Property owners will be charged rent for the steel screens.

There are more than 2,000 vacant properties in Washington.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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