LORAIN — A small group of criminals are traditionally responsible for the majority of crime in communities and the same is true for residents responsible for nuisance violations.
City Council members are trying to punish the offenders or landlords with a new nuisance ordinance. The proposal discussed by Council on Monday, would fine property owners if firefighters or police are called to a property more than five times in one year for nuisance activities.
The cost would be calculated by the hourly wages of the city employees involved with abating the nuisance plus 75 percent and multiplied by the hours taken for abatement. If contractors are needed for abatement, their costs would be added into the fine.
Council last month approved an ordinance fining business or homeowners for having more than three false alarms at their properties within a year.
The goal of the ordinances is to improve quality of life and maximize fire and police resources. Police responded to 58,835 calls last year up 8 percent from 54,402 in 2011.
Police spokesman Lt. Roger Watkins said Tuesday that too many calls were to the same residences for non-emergencies.
“It would allow us to be more proactive,” Watkins said of the ordinance.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer said statistics show in one case, police were called between 35 and 50 times to the same home within a year for non-emergency calls. Ritenauer said officers are familiar with the homes where bad actors live, but can do little beyond arresting them or warning them. He said chronic offenders, “put the people who need the police for emergency purposes in a tough position.”
The ordinance — modeled after one in Shaker Heights — is expected to be voted upon July 22. Ritenauer stressed the proposal won’t effect most property owners, only those responsible for the bad behavior.
“The hope is it will dissuade that kind of behavior,” he said. “Not only does it drain police resources, it can ruin a neighborhood.”
A proposed nuisance ordinance would fine property owners if firefighters or police are called to a property more than five times in one year for nuisance activities. Activities defined as nuisances include:
- Animal violations, such as barking dogs, roaming dogs or vicious dogs
- Disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace
- Fireworks violations
- Drug use or prostitution
- Assault, child endangerment or weapons violations
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.