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  1. #1
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    Neighbor Problems

    I was young once, had my fair share of college parties, attended probably more then my fair share of parties, but something has to give. I live in what use to be a quiet neighborhood. Literally three streets bordered by a shopping center and a huge cemetery. We all know each other, mostly older professional folks and retirees. A retired couple moved last year and sold their house to some out of town real estate agency and the agency has rented the house out....to college students. I'm not talking two nice college girls, but four college guys...with big loud diesel trucks. I know every time they leave their house and every time they come home.

    They party every weekend and have lots of college age people over during the week. Their friends park all up and down the street, half in yards, half on the street. The house is across the street from me, four houses down, and the parked cars go all the way down the block, both sides. I had never officially complained until my front window was shot out with a bb gun. When the police came that night, there was nothing they could do because I didn't see who shot it. They know all about the "party house" and told us (me and the neighbors who had gathered in my yard) to continue calling every time they are loud...and we do. The police are there every weekend it seems and at least once during the week. Tickets are issued, but the officer said the tickets are being dismissed because either "the judge feels sorry for the kids" or "they know someone".

    Two weeks ago there was a drive-by shooting in my neighborhood. A real one, bullet holes in the door and top story on the evening news. I was home, heard the shots, but figured it was leftover fire works until I saw all the blue lights. I am out of ideas about what to do. I found out what agency owns the house and called to complain, they could care less. I had my neighbors call as well and they got the same results. I have had tow trucks out to tow the cars out of my yard, but the tow company won't do it because parking is legal along the street.

    One elderly neighbor has volunteered to take care of them. He "was in the army...explosives division". It is getting unlivable in this neighborhood. The police all but throw their hands in the air - they don't know what else to do but continue writing tickets for all the violations they find. They told us that even the mayor knows about the "party house".

    What can we do as a neighborhood to get these kids out of there when calling the police isn't working? I would like for something to get done before army neighbor decides enough is enough. Thanks for any ideas.
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    You're probably not going to care for this reply, but. Your situation is more typical than you realize. That's not to minimize or dismiss it. I'm not going to second guess or Monday Morning Quarterback the actions or lack of action on the part of your police dept. I wasn't there. Towing: If a vehicle is parked on YOUR lawn, or in your driveway, YOU can have it towed. Whether or not a particular towing firm is willing to tow or store the vehicle can be, and often is, another matter. (Who pays them?)Continued pressure from you and your neighbors acting in concert, can have a signal effect on the manner and effectiveness of future police response.Your former Army explosives wonk offers a tempting but totally unrealistic solution to the problem.The Real Estate agency which is renting the house is interested in only one thing. That is, their bottom line. They've demonstrated that fact, haven't they? Finally, and here's the part you're probably not going to like. Have you considered moving? That's an often difficult decision, and it will have to be your call. I don't feel you're looking for the proverbial "quick fix" here, because there isn't one. It's a lousy situation, but you do have some options.

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    Complain to the owner of the property.


    Complain to them EACH AND EVERY time there is a violation--------------If you and your neighbors (everyone should complain each time) become a thorn in their sides something will happen eventually.

    This will take a concerted effort from you and your neighbors. If it takes not only complaining to the police AND then complaining to the property owners------so be it. Most property management companies don't like it when their property is constantly being visited by the PoPo and like it even less when they are CONSTANTLY fielding complaints from neighbors--------but it has to be more than just one neighbor complaining.
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    Try to get the city zoning department involved. Sometimes, all those times the police are called and they take police action will add up to a zoning violation. That will get the real estate owner's attention, and quick. Take pictures/video. Let them see all of you taking pictures/video of cars, noise, drunken behavior, etc, then present it to the city council at a meeting (you may have to get on the agenda first, contact them for instructions). That may help you. but DON'T attack the police department in the council meeting...just tell the council the police department's hands are tied, and you ALL need more help. Speed bumps on the street, better lighting, etc. Good luck.
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    Vehicles parked / abandoned on YOUR property without YOUR permission:
    - 1st: find out if there is a tow company WILLING to remove same and HOLD the vehicle secure pending payment of ALL involved costs by whomever WANTS said vehicle back;
    - 2nd: find out if your local Police will attend to stand-by to prevent a breach of the peace while the tow company removes said vehicle;
    - 3rd: be prepared to suffer some blow-back from your neighbours over said action;
    - 4th: repeat as necessary;

    Public nuisance events (urinating on public property, excessive noise coming from private property, erratic driving on public roads, unauthorized vehicle operation on public property) and criminal activity (assaults, discharge of firearms / explosives, theft, damage):
    - call the Police EACH AND EVERY TIME;
    - see 3rd above.
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    Get your neighbors and go complain at the next council meeting and take your complaint to the local news media. I don't know the laws where you are at, but with continual problem party houses we just start criminally citing the residents for noise and nuisance issues. Also check to see if the landlord is criminally or civily responsible for allowing or maintaining a public nuisance.
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    Main thing is you need to get everybody together. If its just you beefing it looks like your just some nut but if the whole block is making noise it will get attention eventually. Personally I'd try to ****-off the real estate company as much as you are getting from these kids. Stand out front of their business with picket signs. Try to cause them as much trouble as possible with city hall. Document everything. Also consider a lawsuit. Call a local lawyer to see if you can sue the real estate company for something, anything. Or maybe small claims court. But always keep your cool and don't do anything illegal. And have a camera handy at all times for audio and video. Good luck and tell us how it goes.

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    Check with your local Code Enforcement Department. Usually they can take some sort of civil action related to zoning, public nuisance, or similar municipal code violation. Those civil actions can amount to thousands of dollars in civil penalties and can be aimed at both the occupants and the property owner(s).

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    Issues such as these are not only troublesome to those making the complaints, but also to the officers who respond to them. You want the disturbances to stop so you can peacefully go about your business and we want the disturbances to stop so we don't have to respond to them. Believe me when I say, that as a responding officer, it is frustrating to not achieve a successful and lasting resolution.

    My agency has COPS unit (Community Oriented Policing Squad) that handle issues such as these. They may be called Community Services Officers or something along those lines. Our COPS officers are not responsible for handling routine calls for service and have the time, resources and inter-agency contacts at their disposal for resolving a matter such as this. Contact the agency that serves your neighborhood and see if they can refer you to a unit such as this. Another resource that we have in my county is the Nuisance Abatement unit of the states attorney's office. Essentially the SAO, police department, fire department, code enforcement, department of the environment etc., etc. work together to shut down nuisance properties. Nuisance Abatement has seen some success shutting down crack houses in the area where I work. While a property management company may ignore complaints from average citizens, a letter from the states attorney's office generally gets their attention.

    In the mean time continue to call and report problems, while it may not bring an immediate resolution to the problem, it will establish a "premise history" for that address, which will make future enforcement actions easier.

    Best of luck.
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    I can't vouch for your area, but we have a "disorderly house" law that we can charge. Most officers develop a pattern of conduct on the residence of a house and then charge through an application. I've arrested before on first offense for egregious offenses. The courts upheld it and the renters were evicted.

    Also, do you have a homeowners association? I've dealt with a few good ones that actually started fining the owners of homes with violations for their renters actions. I've gotten a few renters evicted by charging the owners for "knowingly allowing"

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    Double post, oops
    Last edited by DeputySC; 08-12-2012 at 03:18 PM.

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    It sounds like the problem lies with the magistrate if he keeps throwing out the tickets for the reasons you say. If he does that your neighbors are going to continue as they have been.
    If the police issue them another ticket find out when the court date is and show up. Stand beside the officer in support while he presents the case and speak as a witness and victim.
    Last edited by DeputySC; 08-12-2012 at 03:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTick View Post
    Throw a road flare into a back window.
    Wipe it down with alcohol first, then be sure to wear gloves...
    Iowa #1603 and MargeGunderson like this.

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    Thanks guys for the suggestions. As far as moving... not an option. I've almost got this house paid off.

    As far as going to council meeting, we as a neighborhood tried that about seven years ago when they built the shopping center at the end of our block. We didn't want the shopping center to be able to have an "out" going down our street. Every neighbor but one showed up at the council meeting for support and we were told after construction was finished the only entrance and exit for the shopping center, including a Kroger, would be on the main road and not through our neighborhood. Well, Kroger lied and we get tons of traffic taking the "shortcut" to Kroger. But we have learned to live with that. Traffic comes and goes quickly...Loud parties go on and on. The neighborhood doesn't trust city council meetings anymore. But we do have a new mayor (former LEO) and two of the four councilmen are former LEO as well. I will talk with the neighbors about it.

    I like the idea of going to court as a witness/victim. I would even use a personal day for that. The police were out again this weekend...I didn't call - just for the record. I will ask our neighborhood officer about the next court date. Also, SHU, this neighborhood is united. I've only actually called twice and once was for my shot out window.

    We are so tired of this. I will put army guy on code enforcement detail and Nuisance Abatement, he can call and see what they can do...it might get his mind off the explosives. I will also mention the alcohol and gloves things, but I'm sure he knows that already.

    We do have Community Oriented Policing so it's usually the same group of officers that respond. They told us they have cited them for disturbing the peace, underage drinking, loud music, something about illegal display of speed (?) for having a spinning tire contest with their diesel trucks, lewd conduct for peeing in the neighbors bushes, littering for beer bottles/cans/red solo cups in various neighbors yards. There have been several arrests for drunk in public when they get out in the streets.

    The officers are good, and I know they feel for us and wish there was more they could do.
    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

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    You've got some excellent advice from the others on here, but I'll throw in my 2 cents just in case.

    If the officers responding to these calls haven't had any luck citing into a specific Judge, ask them to cite into a different Judge. We have that ability here, if we know a Judge is lean on something, we cite into the 'other' Judge. We have about 4 different Magistrate Judges to choose from here. That could help defeat these guys' "inside" with that specific Judge. For example, we have one Magistrate that's extremely lean on traffic citations, it's basically dismissed before the paper lands on his desk, so because of that we don't send him our citations.

    If that agency doesn't have the ability to cite into a different Judge...Ask for a different agency when you call for Officers. The city units tied up with this sort of thing? Call the County. County doesn't want to get involved? Call State Police. I'm not normally an advocate of "shopping" for police departments, but in your case, it may be useful depending on whether or not the different agencies can cite into different courts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMe View Post
    Thanks guys for the suggestions. As far as moving... not an option. I've almost got this house paid off.

    As far as going to council meeting, we as a neighborhood tried that about seven years ago when they built the shopping center at the end of our block. We didn't want the shopping center to be able to have an "out" going down our street. Every neighbor but one showed up at the council meeting for support and we were told after construction was finished the only entrance and exit for the shopping center, including a Kroger, would be on the main road and not through our neighborhood. Well, Kroger lied and we get tons of traffic taking the "shortcut" to Kroger. But we have learned to live with that. Traffic comes and goes quickly...Loud parties go on and on. The neighborhood doesn't trust city council meetings anymore. But we do have a new mayor (former LEO) and two of the four councilmen are former LEO as well. I will talk with the neighbors about it.

    I like the idea of going to court as a witness/victim. I would even use a personal day for that. The police were out again this weekend...I didn't call - just for the record. I will ask our neighborhood officer about the next court date. Also, SHU, this neighborhood is united. I've only actually called twice and once was for my shot out window.

    We are so tired of this. I will put army guy on code enforcement detail and Nuisance Abatement, he can call and see what they can do...it might get his mind off the explosives. I will also mention the alcohol and gloves things, but I'm sure he knows that already.

    We do have Community Oriented Policing so it's usually the same group of officers that respond. They told us they have cited them for disturbing the peace, underage drinking, loud music, something about illegal display of speed (?) for having a spinning tire contest with their diesel trucks, lewd conduct for peeing in the neighbors bushes, littering for beer bottles/cans/red solo cups in various neighbors yards. There have been several arrests for drunk in public when they get out in the streets.

    The officers are good, and I know they feel for us and wish there was more they could do.

    So, my question to YOU now is, do you and your neighbors give up? Yeah, it'as an option, but then you've virtually surrendered to the continual downgrading of your neighborhood. You mention that moving is not an option, and I understand that. But, what about the value of your property should you later desire to sell. All of your equity, all of your sacrifice, all the things you've done as a property owner do down the tube as a result of the B.S. going in your neighborhood.

    I rather liked the suggestion made to you concerning taking action against the real estate firm managing/owning the property in question. Perhaps you and your neighbors can jointly retain an Attorney and see if it's feasible to bring a civil action (lawsuit) against the real estate firm.

    Continue to put pressure on the city authorities. Here I reference the police, the zoning and zoning enforcement people, the Mayor and the Council. One of the really good things about local government is that frequently they are far more responsive to public pressure than say, state government.

    Showing up in court and standing beside the officer(s) is largely symbolic, and will actually accomplish little. Most municipal judges are appointees, so it stands to reason that you apply pressure to the people (Mayor, council) who appoint these people. That's where you have the best chance of obtaining positive results.

    If you guys give up, then the stoners and the clowns who can't hold their liquor win. So do the rest of people who don't give a whistling damn about other people's rights. These clowns aren't going to care unless or until you get their attention. Do it by putting increasing pressure on the people who have the legal tools and resources to stop the problem. Good luck.

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    Seven years was a long time ago, and the city had a lot to gain with commercial development. They don't have a lot to gain by publicly failing to deal with a party house and quality of life issues.

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    Seven of us neighbors met for breakfast last Saturday. We talked for a long time about the "party house" situation.

    We are all tired of the loud music, the cars and the litter. We all use to go out on Sunday morning/afternoon and pick up the beer bottles/cans/red solo cups/garbage and just throw it away. On Saturday we decided instead of throwing it in our respective trash can, we would gather it all and dump it in the bed of the giant diesel pick up truck last in line in their driveway. And so we did. That ****ed the college guys off. I had kinda hoped they would sleep through it, but damn, 75-100 beer cans make a lot of noise falling in the bed of a pick-up. College guys come out cussing and threatening to call the police for us trespassing. Army guy told them to go ahead. They didn't, but there was some serious window watching and texting going on between myself and my neighbors. Watching college guy cleaning out the back of his truck was fun, too.

    I got the address of the rental agency in South Carolina that owns the house and have passed it on to one neighbor's son that is a lawyer. The lawyer is going to write a "formal" complaint letter to the agency to at least put them on notice about he problem since phone calls aren't working.

    Army guy said he has called zoning, and there isn't much they can do about the house if it is in compliance. Code Enforcement said they would look into the police records and see about noise violations, and if they are habitual, they will contact the homeowner. We haven't heard anything back from them.

    So we continue to call when it gets too loud too late at night, and I can only imagine what awaits us this Labor Day weekend. We will be out Sunday morning with our trash bags picking up the remains of their party and depositing it in the pick-up bed of the poor sap that parks last in the driveway.

    Oh, and the police caught our drive-by shooters. Some young kids (18-19 years old). We don't know if they had been at the party house, or if it was just a random shooting.

    The University starts classes on Tuesday. Lord help us.
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    Well, I personally think that dumping the beer cans and other trash into the pick up truck was a stroke of genius. Perhaps in the future you could start a new game entitled, "Which is the Lucky Truck?" In this game, soon to be all the rage, you simply pick a truck at random,make it the DGT(Designated Garbage Truck) and dump all the trash in it. That way, all the inconsiderate, self entitled wonks causing these problems might spend a little time wondering if they get to haul all the trash they dumped, out to the landfill.

    On a more serious note, the letter from the Attorney could have a profoundly positive effect on the thus far indifferent landlords who've been ignoring your calls.Some follow up may be required, but it sounds like you're off to a good start.

    Continue to apply increasing pressure on the city agencies involved. Attend (you and your neighbors) city council meetings. Ask to be placed on the agenda, and directly address the mayor and council concerning your very valid issues.

    You might remind the "politicians" that come election time, if these issues haven't been addressed that they could very well become campaign issues.

    Don't relent until the city authorities have taken positive steps to enforce municipal ordinances. Keep pressure up on the landlords. Good luck in your efforts.

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    Instead of dumping the stuff in a truck, how about their front lawn???

    As was stated before, continue your pressure on the city and owners.
    Last edited by chiefjack; 08-23-2012 at 12:52 PM.

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    Thanks for the update.

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    While I understand the frustration you must be enduring, I would strongly advise you to watch the line you may have crossed. While I assume the comment you attributed to the “Army Guy” in which it was a thinly veiled comment about his prior military vocation and possible retribution was pure hyperbole, the part about collecting rubbish from the roadside and then tossing it into one of these kids trucks, while funny at first, could be viewed as criminal mischief on your part.

    Too often I have had to mitigate the issues caused by frustrated neighbors who reached their wits end. I get it, I do, but you need to understand that this matter could quickly de-escalate into a tit-for-tat battle in which nobody wins. While joking about blowing stuff up, piling up trash in their truck and the like provides some comic relief, it could portend of a bad path being taken.

    All kidding aside, several of my colleagues have offered up some very good advice. I would suggest you document events and activities that you can attribute to the house in question and pass those observations along to the police or other authority with prevue over the matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by SSD View Post
    It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
    And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjack View Post
    Instead of dumping the stuff in a truck, how about their front lawn???

    As was stated before, continue your pressure on the city and owners.
    I think it is dangerous to do this or dump it in the truck.....................

    Neighbor rage....like road rage can get nasty.....................................

    PLEASE don't take any action yourselves...................continue to make formal complaints through the police, other city agencies, and the property owners.................be a "squeaky wheel" in the systme rather than a "speed bump" on the tenants.
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    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon - no matter how good you are, the pigeon will still crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway."



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    While I personally applaud your collective actions in dumping the trash into the truck in question, I do commend you to the cautions my colleagues have suggested. "Poetic" justice only goes so far, tempting and often satisfying as it can be.

    Once more, and I'd be absolutely determined to do this. Become (all of you) a collective thorn in the side of the city authorities. Demand the action that your tax dollars deserve. Be regulars at council meetings, and get on the agenda and demand action until the problem is alleviated.

    Your Attorney has initiated what could really be a decisive action in sending the initial letter to the absentee landlords. It may take a follow-up, but my sense is that these missives will get the attention of the people who are currently merely collecting rent, and are indifferent to the concerns of you and your neighbors.

    You guys really can make a difference, and I commend your efforts to do so. Continued good luck.
    Jacob2899 likes this.

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    I WAS kidding about the front lawn. I agree that it would probably give you and your neighbors some instant/short=term gratification, but in the long run, being the constant thorn in the local govt.'s side is probably the best way to go. I suggest you consider lots of photos and/or video of the mess being left as additional ammo in your quest.

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