America the Messy Yard Police State
Neighbors snitching on neighbors!!!!Neighbors snitching on neighbors!!!! Out of control messy yard cops!!!!
Nuisance complaints set record
by Michael Clancy - Jul. 19, 2008 08:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Phoenix had a record number of complaints about weeds, junked cars and other violations of city law in the fiscal year that just wrapped up.
Officials took in 57,989 complaints from residents about their neighbors, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year.
The city allows anonymous callers to lodge complaints. The city responds with a letter to the subject of the complaint, then sends an inspector out to the property.
Sam McAllen of the city's Neighborhood Services Department said 85 percent of the complaints are resolved by the time the inspector makes a second visit.
The number of cases was a 49 percent jump from five years ago.
Jerome Miller, director of Neighborhood Services, credited the department's educational outreach for some of the increase. He also said that aging neighborhoods are harder to maintain, and that the poor economy may have turned people's attention, and financial resources, away from exterior maintenance to more important matters, like food and medicine.
Different neighborhoods, different complaints
Phoenix's Neighborhood Services Department inspectors find that complaints come in from all over town.
No neighborhood is exempt from the storage buildings constructed without permits, the grass that has grown too high, the junker in the front yard or broken-down fencing.
But, director Jerome Miller, some of the older and poorer parts of town definitely have bigger challenges that newer and wealthier neighborhoods.
"There are different needs in different neighborhoods," Miller said.
He said many newer areas of the city are governed by homeowners associations, which are even stricter than the city's rules.
And a tough economy does not help.
"When your choice is repainting your house or buying your medicine, the house might just have to wait," he said.
But generally, the calls follow efforts by the department to let people know about so-called code violations and what they can do about them.
"Current policy is that we work from a complaint-based system," Miller said. "We get the information into the system and take care of the cases."
He said neighborhood residents need to take the lead when an entire area shows signs of deterioration.
When that happens, he pointed out, the city can respond with a variety of resources, including police.
But as things now stand, the department cannot identify such neighborhoods on its own, he said.
Miller acknowledges that the numbers have not been broken down, nor the hard questions answered.
Are the complaint numbers high? Compared to what?
Are the complaints focused in any specific area?
Why have the complaints risen so rapidly just in the last few years?
Staff members will be working on those details, he said.