Nearly 300 Evictions Take Place Daily in Las Vegas Valley - 8 News NOW

Desert Underwater

Nearly 300 Evictions Take Place Daily in Las Vegas Valley

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LAS VEGAS -- Foreclosures are forcing people out of their homes and onto the streets. The Las Vegas Constable's Office has the dirty job of kicking people out. They do nearly 300 evictions a day -- the most in the city's history.

This is the human side of the foreclosure crisis. What the deputy constables see everyday is not a financial statement but a family's life packed up in boxes and trash bags being forced out.

"Good morning, how ya doing? Here's the thing, we're here to change the locks," said Dean Lauer, deputy constable for Las Vegas township.

This is Lauer's Monday morning. From 5 to 7 a.m., he fills out eviction notices and then posts them on front doors in northeast Las Vegas.

"This will be a real easy eviction, it's an empty apartment," Lauer said.

Then the tough part begins. Lauer finds a group of middle-aged adults who has taken up illegal residence in an 800-square foot apartment. The place is trashed and the owner wants the people removed.

"Have you got all the stuff you're taking or are you coming back later to get some stuff?" He asks the squatters. "No, I'm done," answers one. Lauer is one of 10 deputy constables who are charged with evicting tenants who haven't paid their rent and homeowners who haven't paid their mortgage.

"We work for the courts and our whole reason for being at an eviction is to make sure it's done lawfully and to keep the peace," Lauer said.

Sometimes emotions run high and violence erupts.

"In the year-and-a-half, I've had one encounter and it was more of a miscommunication. I went to escort him out and he became physical and we got into an altercation."

Deputy constables are required to be law enforcement trained. They carry a gun, taser and baton. By law, two deputies are required to go to all foreclosure-related evictions.

"They have the American dream, they finally got their own home and now they're losing it because of the economy. They lost their job, I've seen them break down." Lauer said.

Tears are better than the alternative. His colleagues have had guns, knives and baseball bats pulled on them, or worse.

"One in particular has had two people commit suicide when he walked up to the door to do the eviction."

Because of that unpredictability and danger, Lauer approaches each eviction with compassion. "It's an emotional experience and many times I've wondered how I would react in that situation if someone came into my home and said, 'you have to leave.'"

Constables are not paid by taxpayers, they're paid $7.65 per sheet of paper they file whether it's an eviction notice or an immediate foreclosure eviction.


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