NORTH BABYLON - Residents in a North Babylon neighborhood worry that their area is in a steady state of decline, and they say a rash of foreclosures has ushered in squatters who are living in abandoned homes.

Neighbors say that the squatters often target bank-owned homes because the banks typically post notices on them indicating that they are vacant.

Residents say it's unsettling to have total strangers moving in and out of the homes around them, often coming and going at night. Some residents say they've become embarrassed by the run-down properties in their community.

Babylon Town Supervisor Richie Schaffer says his hands are tied on the matter because of a provision under New York state law.

"Squatters are given the same rights as tenants, legal tenants, under the New York State Landlord-Tenant law," Schaffer says. "So we're asking our state representatives to change that classification to give the town the ability to go in and remove squatters quicker."

People who live in the area say they hope the issue is addressed quickly.