Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bad Neighbors

I live in a town that has a lot of crime.  Last week there was a shooting on my block that was associated with a long string of domestic violence in a home.  The house is at the far end of the block so my husband and I didn’t even know what happened since the incident took place very early in the morning until the person who lives next door told us about it.  He stopped at my house to discuss what we could do about getting rid of the tenants who live there.
I did some research and looked up neighbor disputes on the web and found a very interesting program in California called Safe Streets Now.  It relies on having the project listed as a nuisance property and empowers citizens to take action though civil action using small claims court as a way to rid the neighborhood of issues.  There is a process, but it is a very user friendly process and can yield some pretty dramatic results.  I am not sure that Pennsylvania has a basis for this law, but am working to find out.
When I was on council I implemented a way to list a property as a nuisance which allows the municipality and county to take action.  By adding the Safe Streets Now pieces to that existing ordinance, providing our state has provisions in it to do so, residents in the municipality can put things in place in a manner that can help clean up the town.  I hope that Council will take action to do just that.

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