Revitalize Neighborhoods with an Effective Code Enforcement System

Resource Government
May 13, 2013 — 1,023 views  
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Revitalization of neighborhoods is critical for several reasons. If properties are cleaned or re-developed, investors are attracted, the existing residents feel satisfied, and the area usually becomes relatively free of crime. In efforts undertaken for neighborhood revitalization, the key issue is to effectively enforce housing and building codes.

Why is Code Enforcement Necessary?

Code enforcement could be important if the property is unsightly covered with graffiti, weeds, and trash. Even if the property lies abandoned under dangerous conditions like broken plumbing, vermin, abandoned vehicles, or leaky roofs, code enforcement becomes necessary. In situations like non-permitted or non-conforming businesses such as junk yards and auto repair businesses, it is necessary to have code enforcement in place. It is even more critical to enforce code if owners or tenants indulge in criminal activities like drug dealing with the property.   

In such situations code enforcement can help to revitalize the neighborhood. Then you need to put code and law enforcement resources in place, and use these resources toward community development and for betterment of the neighborhood. But it is not easy to enlist the services of code enforcement agencies burdened with low budget and limited staff.   

Partnering with Communities

Partnering with communities can be a better choice as both the law and code enforcements are brought together. The communities can effectively communicate their priorities to these agencies together rather than separately. The bureaucratic hurdles which make it difficult to share information can be effectively addressed when neighbors report nuisances like code violations and criminal activities.

Partnership between the police department and the community is advantageous which in business terms is called the comparative advantage. The same is true for partnership between communities and the code enforcement agencies. In other words, this three-way partnership is a win-win solution for the community as well as the law enforcement and code enforcement agencies. The law enforcement can search for crimes, issue citations, evict tenants, and arrest those responsible for criminal activities. The code enforcement agency can issue code violations after the inspection of properties.

Developing an Effective Program

It takes a lot of effort to develop an effective program. The challenges do not end with the identification, citation, and the arrest of violators. Additional inputs may be needed about each case so that the original problem is resolved. It cannot be denied that the police-community partnership as well as the code agency-community partnership will ensure that the code violators will manage their properties according to the law.

One cannot assume that an effective program works on only one model. Law and code enforcements along with communities can work in several ways. There can be informal partnerships at one end and long-term institutional programs on the other end. There can be innovative approaches with individuals like the prosecutor, community leader, and police officer forging entrepreneurial partnership to work together as a single police officer. Eventually they may be able to form formal programs to address challenges and attain long-term success.

Resource Government