SPOKANE, Washington – Neighbors who live near Crestline St. and Wellesley Ave. living in North Spokane say they are concerned about activity in two houses – clutter in the yards, potential drug activity, and an overall negative feeling the problem houses bring to their neighborhood.
They have reached out to the Spokane Police, their local COPS stores and the city and say they are frustrated with the lack of action.
You are not alone – people often have problems with problem houses. Spokane Police Officer Tim Schwering says these things cannot be fixed overnight.
The troublesome house process begins with a call from a neighbor or concerned citizen who gets the ball rolling for an investigation.
“There are certain criteria that a property must meet. If they meet the criteria, the tenants and the owners will be notified that it is a chronic nuisance,” Schwering said on Thursday. “We are trying to work with the property owner or residents to contain and stop this nuisance.”
The long process can make neighbors nervous.
Traci Ponto from the Spokane COPS volunteer group – Community Oriented Policing Services – says this is often the case when people contact them.
“You don’t necessarily see anything happening or any kind of solution,” Ponto said. “We often tell them that you don’t need a police officer to answer. So we let them know their call will be read, seen and used. We need her to continue, don’t worry about getting an officer out there. “
Ponto says it is about strengthening neighbors because strength lies in numbers.
“The goal is for our neighbors to work together to document, report, record and get the evidence we need for police reports,” Ponto said. “Then we can hand the package over to a neighborhood resource officer so he can get started right away.”
“Take notes, call Crime Check,” said Officer Schwering. “If it’s a 9-1-1 911. Be vigilant, be aware of what is going on and you can get in touch.”
Ultimately, the goal is not to throw people out of their homes, but to try to stop the bad activity before they get to that point.