The before and after pictures of enforcing nuisance ordinances are paying dividends for our community. The police report better communications with citizens living in areas plagued with nuisance hazards. This year, the Nevada Public Safety Department is actively engaging renters and property owners who have been identified through nuisance complaints. The goal is to clean up properties and make a safer community. Officer Kelli Springer is one of the officers actively working nuisances. Officer Springer says, “Clean properties help to reduce crime and foster a better quality of life in Nevada.”
Officers face a number of challenges and hazards walking through nuisance properties. “Garbage attracts wild animals and rodents, scrap lumber has nails neighboring kids can step on and unsafe or abandoned properties attract all kinds of criminal activity, mainly covert drug use,” says Director of Fire and EMS Ray Reynolds. Officers are developing better dialog with many people involved in nuisance complaints. Officer Sean Seymour says “Most people aren’t aware of how bad their property has gotten until it becomes a complaint to police.”
Officers say nuisance problems go beyond piled-up trash. “It’s important we change behaviors so hoarding problems do not become permanent.” Says Officer Ryan Hutton. Officers sometimes spend 20-30 minutes discussing financial resources to help those who can’t afford to clean up their property. Hoarding conditions make properties dangerous for firefighters and police when responding to fires or emergencies.
“We are seeing huge strides this year as people know we are serious about nuisance abatements,” says Reynolds. “Very few if any of our encounters are negative; in fact, our officers are seeing this community policing effort paying dividends because we can have normal life conversations and offer advice on resources outside of a traffic stop or an arrest.” Last week a resident of the community thanked officers for working with him to make his longtime nuisance property a better place to live.
Sgt. Chris Brandes says, “Many times a reminder letter placed in the door is enough to motivate people to take action. The residents who don’t respond to the letter are usually people we have dealt with year after year, so a different approach is needed.” Police say sometimes a citation is the only option to motivate people to clean up their property. This year to date, seven citations were issued out of over 70 properties where nuisances were identified. Officers call property managers to remove abandoned appliances near dumpsters, leave notices on properties and actively work to develop a plan on abating a nuisance. “People assume if two police cars are out talking with a resident something, bad is happening. I’ve had some very heart-wrenching stories told to me about people in our community really struggling. It feels good to offer hope and limited resources to people who really need help,” says Reynolds. “I wish more resources and help from the community were available to assist these people who really can’t afford to mitigate their nuisance. A community nuisance team would really help the police make nuisances a thing of the past in our town.”
Citizens can report nuisances by clicking on the green REPORT A CONCERN button on the city of Nevada’s website.