Calling cops on neighbors works

mrsd1957August 5, 2007

When we were coming over to clean and paint our "new" old house, we met 3 of the neighbors. Next door: elderly widow lady, loved that we were going to remove prickly bushes next to our driveway as they were a pain in the butt to mow next to. Back yard neighbor: couple few years older than us (50's) asked if they could put up a privacy fence. Directly across street: my gut reaction - drug dealer, cell phone calls, drive ups all while talking to us on sidewalk, and he bred pit-bulls that liked to get loose. We thought we were lucky, he moved out (renter) the week before we moved in.

The next tenants arrived: they moved in by shopping carts, and the screaming started. Middle age woman and teenage kids. Now before anyone jumps here, I've raised 4 kids, two of whom still live with me aged 17 & 18. I was president of the local Pop Warner - 200 kids aged 8 to 15. I don't mind rambunctious yelling once in awhile, but we're talking high pitch screaming here. My kids were raised that screaming was reserved for mayhem: bleeding, broken bones, fire, molestation.

These kids climb out on their porch roof and pretend to try and throw each other off. Throwing bottle rockets into the empty dog house. Jumping up and down on the abandoned car in their driveway. The daughter likes to fight (verbally and physically) with her boyfriend, screaming the F word continously.

One neighbor called the cops for the street swearing screaming match, and we all watched as the "mom" swore up and down that her kids weren't even home.

Monday morning at 5:45 my DH looks out front window to see 2 boys who don't live there squirting super soakers thru their living room windows thru the window fans. At 9 a.m. the screaming started. At 11 a.m. a scream ripped, I jump up to see if maybe one of the nimwits finally fell off the roof. 2 boys are setting something on fire on their curb and spraying an aerosol can at it - 3' flamethrower!!!

I called 911 - cops here in 3 minutes. Kids all disappeared, I invite the cops in and go thru everything that has happened. I told them when they go across to the house look at the scorch marks. I point to house, cop looks out my front door and sees the kids on the roof. The cops cross the street and knock. The "mom" answers the door, she was in the house the entire time and tries to tell them it wasn't her kids, they never stand on the roof, they don't play with fire, etc. Cop says - we saw them up there, the burn marks are right there. This is the 2nd complaint in one week. Things quieted down until yesterday when they decided to sit on the roof and scream thing down to people walking past. An elderly lady and her daughter took exception and called 911 from her cell phone.

Right now: she's under investigation with the foster care program and the landlord's under investigation for the property and abandoned car.

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Do you own a video camera? I'd keep it handy and video them every time they do something illegal, negligent, etc. Then you can show it to the police and or DSS.

I hate to say this, but they are not going to change their behavior for more than a day or two. You have to hope they move.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:56AM
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Cops told me every time the screaming starts dial the 911 center (toll free on my tracfone, I don't have a landline) and step to the door so their screaming hits the tape recording. She's a foster mom who gives other foster parents bad name, she's living off the money. The landlord gets a subsidy for renting to her. Cops said they'll track down landlord and contact codes office for the car and broken windows. They've also started doing drive bys 2 or 3 times a day since. This is a village of approx 35,000 when the community college isn't in session, so they take this stuff seriously, thank goodness. DH says if they aren't stopped he has no problem calling the chief of police everyday - he went to high school with him.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 3:58PM
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omg. That entire situation sounds like a war zone. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Ita with Sue. Sounds like those kids have been like that since they were born. Obviously, lack of supervision and structure. It's sad too. I wonder the kids have been neglected or abused.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:38PM
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"She's a foster mom who gives other foster parents bad name, she's living off the money."

The idea to video tape this nonsense is a good one. I'd report her to child services. She sounds like she shouldn't be allowed to have a dog, let alone foster children.

"DH says if they aren't stopped he has no problem calling the chief of police everyday - he went to high school with him."

Glad the law on your side.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:25AM
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In addition to all the above ideas, you need to start reporting all of this to the local child welfare crisis line. It is best if it is going to go the state level line (ie NOT your local human services agency but the state level one who disseminates to the local office. Then you won't have to worry as much about it just getting 'swept under the rug'.) I will bet after you and a few neighbors start raising a stink, that foster mother will either lose her license (rightfully so by the sounds of it), she will feel too much heat and give notice for removal on the trouble-making kids, or simply move away. Either way it is a winning situation for your neighborhood, but I do have to say I feel pretty bad that those kids are supposed to be getting CARE but instead or being allowed to victimize others.

You might also want to start calling and complaining on the landlord...our area has ordinances that will hold the owner responsible for certain actions of the tenants. If nothing else, call him at home and keep him abreast of all the turmoil...he may get sick of it and boot the family out or sell the house to avoid all the headaches.

Good luck! I hope this works out for you!
Stacey =)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Well, I'm letting the cops handle all this. The kids she babysits are being dropped off by the guy we think is the landlord. My guess - she's related to him. It's been really quiet so far, but cuz I called cops the neighbors are not hesitant anymore. We're in this together.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Very cool, just make sure you document, dates called, everything in a log for yourself. Pictures, if necessary. And the cops are on to them, so hopefully it will calm down.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:53PM
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Have you considered moving?

Seriously. I would not live there one more second.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 5:04PM
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I agree with those who suggested that you call the Department of Social Services. If this is a foster home, it should be investigated. And I have to say that the playing with fire is a BIG warning sign. Especially for kids who may have been kicked around from home to home in the foster system. It can be an early sign of a very disturbed kid.

Call often if you have to. That kind of home doesn't do those kids any good.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 12:17AM
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NO NO NO I'm not moving. I just inherited this house. My DH's grandparents bought it in 1943, his uncles lived here until their deaths, his mother gave it to us. It was built in 1874 and it's my homestead. I'm an Air Force Brat and this is the home my children's children will stay with their grandparents (us). The a*s across the street is the only bad apple on the street, and I'm not cutting down the tree for one bad apple.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 12:21AM
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I know this is an old thread, but . . . Have you or your neighbors considered offering to purchase this house from the landlord? I know sometimes a tenant looks great at the first meeting and then turns out to be a nightmare, but wouldn't it be nicer if you got to choose the tenants?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 11:34PM
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When you have multiple less-than-desirable tenants in a row, the problem is the owner, not the tenant du jour... i.e. sometimes you CAN throw money at a problem. ;')

Following on jakabedy's post, find out how much rent the place is pulling in its run-down condition, then talk to realtors or other landlords about what it would pull with $NN put into it. Run the spreadsheet, you may be surprised at how profitable it could be, esp. in a college town.

Dividing into 2 or more apts. may be necessary... but not if it's the only such unit in the 'hood... no sense alienating 12 good neighbors to get rid of 1 bad egg.

I am the hero of a nice Ft. Lauderdale neighborhood I don't even live in, because I bought and rehab'd a duplex which the absentee alky owner had allowed to decline to the point where only criminals and deadbeats would rent it... nightmare of the neighborhood.

It wasn't listed, but the across-street neighbor ($500K single family home) is a friend of mine (who often let FLPD undercover do surveillance from his living room--yep, that bad), got me in touch with the owner... I pitched it several times, told him the boom might end soon, who knows, better cash out before the bust, yada-yada... suggested he take the lump and put it in a nice safe annuity, instead of trying to collect from flaky tenants who are in county lockup... he was usually toasted, so I had to go slow and sketch it on paper... finally nudged the guy to sell. At the closing, he reeked of bourbon. Your derelict house across the street probably has a similar story.

I turned out the month-to-month deadbeats, put the place on a business footing, did a major remod, and now get more than TWICE the rent he did, from solid responsible tenants. Former owner was basically throwing away over $1400 a month! (Hope he took the equity $$ and got the help he needed, but meantime, the integrity of a classy subdivision was restored.)

Keep us posted, yours is an interesting story...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 2:09AM
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Houses in this neighborhood - completely renovated and updated go for 65,000. I know that's hard to believe, in the upscale villages 20 miles away houses are 500,000 and up. We're seeing the people from those villages move down here for the inexpensive mortgages and taxes and driving the 30 minutes to work. I don't have the finances to take over another house. I still own my previous property in the next village over (30 yrs there - and have an equity loan on it), my two eldest sons are now renting it from me and finishing the reno on it. My 18 yr old daughter has met quite a few people on the street as they have kids the same age as her and everyone is great. The corner house was bought from our Aunt Mary's estate when she died, gutted, reno'ed, and is now an alcohol rehab house (very well run, quiet, and good neighbors). Just the house across the street is a problem, but since I called the cops - they called in the necessary depts - and other neighbors joined the band wagon, it has been better.
My daughter's friends hang out here and I think they're afraid of them (really sweet kids who just happen to be in alternative bands: baggy clothes, tattoos, piercings - you get the picture). These kids are all college students, hard-working decent kids whose looks can be off putting if you don't get to know them. So anyway, things have been better.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:50AM
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Called in police assistance on my neighbors through my city councilman. Got real quick response and the summer has been tolerable. A couple underage drinking and drug arrests and things quieted down.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 10:36PM
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glennsfc - glad to hear things went well for you! It is encouraging.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:27AM
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