Identification: The Windshield Survey

A logical first step to addressing neglected properties is identifying the extent of the problem by conducting a systematic inventory. The windshield survey, the most commonly used way to take this first step, involves volunteers or government employees driving or walking through a community with a clipboard to making a list of neglected properties. It is important to note that windshield surveys are visual inspections of the exterior of the property. Only authorized personnel may enter onto private property.

Issues to look for during windshield surveys include:

  1. Posted notice
  2. Boarded-up windows and doors
  3. No yard maintenance
  4. Excessive mail piling up (indicates vacancy)
  5. “For Sale” signs
  6. Missing doors or windows
  7. Burn marks or fire damage
  8. Signs of vandalism
  9. Public nuisances, such as trash, vermin, or fire hazards
  10. Vacancy
  11. Lack of utilities, such as water, sewer, electric power, or heating