I have received a good amount of feedback from a recent blog where I posed the simple question, “What matters most to you in Troy?” Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on what could be done to better our city and neighborhoods. A lot of the responses I received via email and through Facebook had a lot to do with quality-of-life issues and how to solve them. Most of the issues questioned have some form of law already on the books. I’m not claiming that it’s well written, enforced, or even the solution to the problem, but rather that something does exist. First, I’d like to introduce the issue, provide a little commentary, and secondly, provide the actual law that is in place to deal with the issue for you to learn more. I have left my views of a solution out to keep the response objective.
Until recently the city’s curfew ordinance was not strictly enforced. Last year when then Assistant Chief Tedesco became Troy Police Chief, enforcing the curfew was one of his top priorities. Since then several curfew stings have been conducted with great success. Over the past few years our neighborhood group has seen a rise in the amount of nuisance crime and vandalism on properties and vehicles. Under aged school children have been pointed as the culprits of these crimes. In January Chief Tedesco was the speaker at our neighborhood meeting. He stated that the curfew program will continue and will be targeted at areas with the most complaints. If you believe your neighborhood should be considered for Curfew enforcement let your Community Police Officer know.
To better understand the limitations of the Curfew Ordinance click here learn more.
Vacant/ Abandoned Buildings
Vacant/ abandoned buildings are a plague for most post-industrial, urban municipalities. The empty buildings are a sign of the times. A host of reasons including lack of industry and owners to occupy them add to the problem, but primarily it's due to economic conditions that they remain empty and rot. These building are both commercial and residential. As a city you can only hope that if the building becomes vacant or abandoned the current owner secures it, continues to pay their taxes, and registers in on the city’s registry. If these buildings aren’t properly cared for they become major health and safety issues for those within the neighborhood and could negatively impact the value of the neighborhood. We all can debate what we each see as the solution, but in the day-to-day operation of a city we need to rely upon strict code enforcement to react to the issue. The city’s code pointedly defines vacant/ abandoned buildings and how they’re addressed.
Click here to learn more about the definition, fee schedule, securing, etc. You’ll want to read ss.141.18 through ss.141.21
This has been a hot button issue over the last several years. These are individuals with little or no ties to our community owning and renting property without a care of who they rent to and they don't appear too concerned about the condition of their property. A lot of the issue lies in the fact that there is too much available housing in the city and not enough renters. To minimize the damage the property owners rent just to curb the loss they are taking. This results in a lack of care for the property and the community from both the renter and the property owner. Why? Because the owner isn’t making enough money to meet expenses and in turn not reinvesting in the property causing the renter not to care either. You can take this same example and reverse it to read, the renter doesn’t care causing the property owner not to either, but either way I’m generalizing. There are a whole host of issues here. No matter how you dice it the phenomenon of absentee landlords are a tremendous drain on our quality-of-life. But remember, not all are bad, some have great records and employ great property managers.
In 2008 the city adopted an Absentee Landlord Registry, to learn more about what it is and does click here.
This is another unfortunate reality that we find most prevalent in urban environments. It happens; all we can do is our best to set an example that this behavior won’t be tolerated. It can be found in our Alleys as I have discussed previously and it can be found on our streets. Recently, the Troy Dept. of Public Works instituted a litter enforcement program, for information on this please contact the DPW at 270-4579. If you haven’t read the book Fixing Broken Windows you should. It discusses the broken window theory, which as defined by Wikipedia is “a criminological theory of the normsetting and signaling effects of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may prevent further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime.” This concept has been implemented across the country with great success. This was the driving force behind Mayor Giuliani’s take back of the NYC streets. In laymen’s terms, if a particular area is continuously littered with trash, someone needs to ensure to keep it clean and more often than not the area will improve over time and remain in a positive state. Or you can do as I did one day and personally confront the issue, read the blog post here.
As with everything else, the city does have a Litter ordinance, to learn more about it click here.
As I said these were the most common concerns noted. I enjoyed writing this post so if you have any other concerns or comments about the “issues” please send them over. I can be contacted via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org