"Educating consumers about ways the Office of Consumer Affairs is working to promote public safety is an important goal of ours," said Crane. "I want consumers to know about the available resources and protections that can make a difference in their lives and in their communities."
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, like many other states in the nation, is experiencing a rise in foreclosures. Homeowners are being uprooted from their homes, which often sit vacant for long periods of time. Vacant homes invite significant crime and safety hazards such as illegal dumping, squatting, drug dealing, vandalism, theft, fires, and overgrowth of weeds and hedges.
Last November, Governor Patrick signed into law an Act Protecting and Preserving Home Ownership which requires the Division of Banks to maintain a database of foreclosure notices. The database, which launched May 1, 2008, will enable the Division to better track foreclosures and retain the contact information of those individuals or companies responsible for maintaining vacant foreclosed properties. As information is collected, it will be shared with state and local officials to protect the public's safety in neighborhoods with foreclosed properties. Meanwhile, consumers should contact local building, health, or public safety officials immediately if they encounter problems with vacant properties in their communities. For more information about foreclosures, please visit <strong>Foreclosure</strong> .