The city of Durham is no longer using plywood to cover up windows and doors in abandoned buildings.
Faith Gardner works for city's Neighborhood Improvement Services Department.
"If you're living in a neighborhood with boarded structures, they don't look good, you can tell that they've been abandoned, there's also an attraction there for criminal activity."
Gardner says a new, clear, polycarbonate material has been installed in ten vacant homes, with more to come. She adds that it improves the appearance of the buildings and allows police to look inside.
She says while the polycarbonate is more expensive than plywood, the durable plastic offers other advantages.
"For instance, a police officer would have a way to see visually into the property so that they can see if there's criminal activity going on inside."
Gardner says the city will be studying what impact the material may have on crime statistics over the next year.