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The Cost of Nuisance Crimes

The Cost of Nuisance Crimes

Public nuisance crimes include many of the most commonly committed crimes in the U.S. They include criminal wrongs such as graffiti, vandalism, vagrancy, and illegal dumping. Because these are crimes committed against the public at large, it is most often the city that incurs the cost associated with these illegal acts. Besides cleaning and repairing property affected by nuisance crimes, there are other costs associated with these nuisance crimes such as policing and prosecuting individuals.

Vandalism of public property is a crime which can incur huge economic losses. These losses most often include the cost of repair and can total thousands of dollars. A decline in property value can result when these types of crimes are committed more often in a given community. Already strained city budgets and resources are exhausted to repair or deter more of these crimes from happening.

Vagrancy can lead to other public nuisance crimes including illegal dumping. These large-scale encampments can often be found in or on city-owned property with heaps of undisposed trash lying around. Cleaning up these trash sites can take days or months to effectively clear the area. And with limited resources, cities are forced to take money from other budgets to cover the cost of the clean-up.

So What Is Being Done?

Prior to now, most urban neighborhoods have treated public nuisance crimes as simple code violations. A small fine would be the consequence of violating one of these codes. More recently, many cities have begun prosecuting these violations as criminal misconduct and imposing harsher fines and fees in an effort to try to curb these acts from being committed. Cities using Crime Deterrent Cameras are seeing great results in deterring and find them to be very effective when strategically placed.

What is your city doing to prevent nuisance crimes and the costs associated with these crimes in your community?

Community Policing and Nuisance Crimes

Community Policing and Nuisance Crimes

What are nuisance crimes, and is the community responsible for curbing these types of crimes?

 

Some people think of a nuisance as something annoying that can be tolerated to a point. The definition of nuisance according to Dictionary.com is “something offensive or annoying to individuals or the community, especially in violation of their legal rights.” People should know that in most cases there are laws against public irritations. Therefore, committing an act of a public nuisance is a crime. Examples of criminal acts of public annoyance are vandalism, graffiti and illegal dumping.

 

Definitions according to Dictionary.com

 

Vandalism is “deliberately mischievous or malicious destruction or damage of property.”

 

Graffiti is “markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building, public restroom or the like.”

 

Illegal is “forbidden by law or statute.” Dumping is “to unload or empty out (a container), as by tilting or overturning.

 

Most people would agree the examples above are annoying and in some cases downright oppressive, depriving the community of health and happiness. If the community does not take responsibly the problem will remain.  When a community takes ownership and decides to do something, Community Policing is born.

 

Community Policing is where individuals or organized groups work with Law enforcement to solve a problem that is tasking the community. The people and businesses who reside and work within neighborhoods partner with city officials and the police to change the atmosphere of their city. The U.S. Department of Justice has identified key players in Community Policing as “Government Agencies, Community Members/Groups, Nonprofits/Service Providers, Private Businesses and the Media.” Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has provided a useful tool in implementing Community Policing in your neighborhood. All parties who care about their city  should read this and begin to solve the problems their city is facing.