Friday, December 08, 2006

Crime fighters - Magican's Play....

A weeklong conversation with some friends has lead to this weekend post. How much control does Davenport really have? I mean, we have lots of talk radio folk’s complain about crime and bloggers devote site after site to this one central issue. The typical conclusion is city hall, alderman, the police chief or Davenport One is somehow to blame. But the real question is, how much control do they really have?

Think about liquor licenses! If you have a tavern or bar that produces a great deal of problems, an elected official can try to hold up their license for approval. Sometimes hold them up for ridicule utilizing the local media. But if they decline to renew, odds have it the State of Iowa will over turn.

Our Police force spend lots of time running down the bad guys, only to have the courts minimize, plea out or drop charges. Is there an outcry from the population? Hell no, our County Attorney/Prosecutor just ran in the last election unopposed! Name me one state official that ran on a “reduce crime” theme and was swooped into office.

I guess we could have a city council that dictates nearly 70% of the budget to public safety, but I think we already have that. We could have a city council that dictates the police department step up enforcement, through any means necessary. But that produces ideas like technology, cameras and spending more money to make sure juvenile crime cases actually see the light of day in our judicial system.

In reality, cities are more or less stuck with a bandage approach. Cover the infected areas as best as possible, and hopefully the infection will simmer down or move else where. Yep, lots of cities have neat programs or neighborhood organizations that “take it back”. But in reality, they just move it elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking anyone off the hook. But the challenges this city or any other city has in Iowa or may I say the region, far exceeds the resources of city hall, its alderman or any business entity group. More prisons, a stronger religious culture and families with two parents in the same house/apartment would go a long way.

Just call me crazy, but if the next municipal election is all about crime, candidates better be damn specific what they want to do. Tell me again, how long has Bill Davis been the County Prosecutor? And just how big is Davenport One’s police force? Ahh, I see…

Have a great weekend,

George

40 Comments:

At December 08, 2006 8:15 AM, Blogger cruiser said...

I agree with the majority of your comments. Sugar's is another good example of the ineptitude of the higher courts. But even when someone tries to do something about it, they are ridiculed. So yes, a bandage is about as good as we'll get, but some of us will keep trying to get something done. Thank you for putting a different slant on a problem some of us have been fighting for some time.

 
At December 08, 2006 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, perspective always trumps perception.

 
At December 08, 2006 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clean up the bad properties and enfroce our housing codes and then we will se a reduction in crime. Don't give crimnals a place to live and they won't stay here. Nuisance abate the heck out of these slum properties and cut back onteh government handlouts to criminals. Move the DOC headquarters fro the 7th jud dist out of Davenport and see a reduction in crime. The criminal families won't come here then to be close to their felon. Davenport is too attractive to the poor and transient because we don't enforce our codes and we don't have neough police and fire to respond and control the crime.

 
At December 08, 2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get the lead out. led

 
At December 08, 2006 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with code inforcement issues in the Davenport area. Just driving through the lower part of the city, it looks looks as if the "great depression" has revisited. Streets and yards are full of trash and abandoned vehicles line the streets and yards. What happened? Seems like in the last month or so the city has fallen apart. Who is in charge of cleaning up?
By the way, great blog site!

 
At December 09, 2006 10:14 AM, Blogger The Colonel said...

Cruiser,
I guess here is my point. So we have talk radio, bloggers and any other group you can think, beating the hell out of city hall, council after council, chief after chief.

Let's get all these neighborhood groups, D1, Jim Fisher, the council and political want to bee's together and seek true solutions.

Let's corner County Attorney Davis, and get some commitments on harsh stances on prosecution of repeat offenders.

Let's get commitments from our State elected officials to lead a challenge to the status quo on liquor licenses. Let's put the spotlight on the state, that takes power/authority away from the cities.

Let's get our financial experts from the business sector to sit down with the council and public safety unions and try to figure out the best way to maximize the 70% of the budget that is spent on public safety.

Let's get the neighborhood groups or neighborhoods that want to be part of the conversation, and work with the business sector, public safety and politicans to find a realistic way to deal with rental properties.

Let's pressure the State, let's challenge the business community, city hall, hell ourselves to implement positive change.

Election after election, we identify a problem. Incremental change happens (sometimes). Davenport's problem is not the sky bridge, JOD, D1, City Hall or the "againsters"..

It's our inability to work together as a community...

But let's go ahead and make this next election all about crime. Everything will be better when "our people" are in there!

 
At December 09, 2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once the development community learns to play nice and value the neighborhood groups, then we will have an equal forum. We are all tired of being screwed over after there has been an opportunity for "public input" that is far too often ignored. We are tired of fruitless "for show" public meetings and commnets only to have our wishes dismissed for more bad decisions.

Get with your people and have a good hard conversation about how to act in the public's best interest and then come to the table. Until then, it is pointless. We are all smarter then we were before and have realized we don't have the time to waste on assiting with a plan that won't be implimented.

 
At December 09, 2006 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colonel, you have some great ideas but unfortunately, those who seem to want to get involved are causing the problems. Take for instance the DAI, peppered with those from the QCRPA and others who have been romanced by the same group. Lobbying is not against the law and it is apparent with the decision made to do away with a housing department without so much as planning the changeover.

Listening to Jim Fisher only adds to the fire of "bad decissions" by him giving out the wrong information. If he doesn't cause controversy, his listeners lose interest and flip off the radio. That's business and it doesn't help our cause.

If we could somehow create a group of folks that live in Davenport, without conflict of interest, that are not hand picked or appointed to any group. Only then would we have a viable opportunity to succeed.

We have all the ingredients for this city to move forward but lack to glue to hold it together, too many egos and not enough dreamers. How about some fresh blood to ask "why?" and not to put up with "because thats how we do it" mentality.

I believe the fault is our own for not asking the right questions during election time. Far to less of the voting population show up for the election (approx 11%), and the lack of interest in city politics along with repercussions of making unpopular decissions have harmed the council seats.

Now we face a new set of problems with the possiblity of the river boat moving, forcing all other problems to take a back seat. It only seems that when this city makes a change other problems arise.

One could only hope that maybe with the next election there is a rise in public awareness and we get the right people to step forward and make us proud again.

 
At December 09, 2006 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:53 - those properties are all rentals. They are owned by people who do not live in the same areas and they are filled with people who don't care along with their landlords. The citizens who do care have an extremely hard time getting help with the problem properties. Rental codes are not enforced and they criminals are just allowed to deal drugs openly out of many of these places. The landlords must be held accountable for how they keep our central city.

 
At December 09, 2006 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:29 - Rental properties or not, all property owners are to be held accountable. Unfortunately the city has very little means of enforcement. Four of the original housing inspectors exist to handle the large amount of complaints, nobody to enforce zoning problems (because the NEO did that also), private property nuisance vehicles are now handled by one person (down from 10 NEO), and only one part time "Temporary Service Employee" to handling the nuisance debris in the yards and curbline. This blows my mind! Next the city will hire Permar to replace police officers on the street. This is becoming a joke!!!

 
At December 09, 2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:38 says "Now we face a new set of problems with the possiblity of the river boat moving, forcing all other problems to take a back seat." If indeed all other problems are given a back seat we have ourselves to blame for not advancing solutions for crime, housing conflicts, etc. We have to maintain attention to multiple agenda items and not become derailed because one business, one CAT Grant, is undergoing change. IOC changing its plans is not like the Mississippi flooding; all hands on deck are not required to deal with the IOC and its latest demand for our attention.

 
At December 10, 2006 12:13 AM, Blogger cruiser said...

Col,
All of your solutions are excellent. That's why I've been saying we can't lay the blame on only one agency. And, with the exception of the Judges, I agree about not voting on just the crime issue. The biggest problem, I believe, is that people will always talk about a problem and fiqure someone else will take care of it. And a difference in ideas doesn't have to mean a difference in goals. People can't agree to agree on any one issue as you said, and when that happens everything falls apart. Just getting people talking about it is a start. It's good to see a discussion with so many different points of view and everyone remaining civil. Good job Col. and posters.

 
At December 10, 2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All properties need to be held accountable but the stats prove that the majority of the crime in this city is on and around rentals OR they are being commited by tenants. We have a way to clean this city up and it it directly tied to rental code enforcement.

 
At December 10, 2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people who think that code enforcement has any direct relationship to crime have no idea what the rental inspection department is about. The inspectors have no control over who the scumlords rent to. They have beaten down by the QCRPA snd the QCRPA loving council because they enforce the codes, no matter how minor they were.

They began to make huge progress in combination with the NETS program because you had enforcement from both the physical and criminal aspects in a controlled area. The council then, with the behind closed doors dealing of the QCRPA, eliminated the department leaving the NETS program exposed to failure.

With no backing from an administration, with continuos harassment from the QCRPA, with the council using the department as a pawn to get brownie points with constituents, the department had no chance.

Again, the code enforcement inspectors had no control over who the scumlords rented to, and dealt with the physical aspects of the properties. They could'nt do it alone, which is what they had to deal with when they wrote penalties which were not enforced by the City CLerk. You cannot blame this department for the crime that existsin this city.

 
At December 10, 2006 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not blaming them I am just saying that there is a connection between housing code enforcement and crime - that is all. Come up with a good plan to clean the place up and the criminals will have less places to live.

 
At December 10, 2006 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not blaming them I am just saying that there is a connection between housing code enforcement and crime - that is all. Come up with a good plan to clean the place up and the criminals will have less places to live.

 
At December 10, 2006 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 4:54, Your absolutely right to saythat the inspectors have no control over who the landlords rent to, the code enforcement officers require the landlord to get directly involved with the problems that arise at the rental properties. I think that this is what pisses the landlords off the most, having to come into Davenport to deal with their tenants. Thus born the concept of the "tenant accountability" thought. Let the city deal with the tenant while the landlord plays dumb and stays neutral.

The NEO Officer in Goose Creek and the NETS Officers tag teamed the properties (tenants/landlords) and made great strides in not only addressing problems in the troubled area but also with partnering two departments never joined before for one cause, to rid the affected area of crime and blight. (Remember, the NEO was able to address nuisance vehicles, debris, and grass issues while the NETS Officers arrested drug dealers and handled assult crimes.)

If the city was ever to reveiw this winning combination, they would find that something very special was happening. Yes Ald. Lynn, it is all about the teamwork of these three special people involved.

I feel sure that Alderman Lynn, Van Fossen, Barnhill, Hammerlink, Ambrose, and Frink will see the error in their ways and reinstate the NEO or the voters will remind them come November '07.

 
At December 11, 2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frink didn't vote to end the NEO.

 
At December 11, 2006 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is correct, it was Keith.

 
At December 11, 2006 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The past was no picnic. During the time of the NEO, crime was rampant in Davenport, and the corrupt NEO refused to enforce the codes on the really bad properties. That is why the landlords became upset with them. Instead of dealing with the properties that should have been dealt with that neighbors like I constantly complained about, they would spend their time writing up small tears in screens on the best properties in town. Hell, they even wasted tax dollars inspecting those beautiful new properties at Prarie Point that rent for over $1000.00 per month. None of the neighbors I knew ever wanted that! We just wanted the slums cleaned up. I know for a fact the QCRPA did too, because they started documenting the worst things in town, but the NEO still refused to do its job. To the NEO, I say good riddence! Now, lets get someting done for the positive with the fire department.

 
At December 11, 2006 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Dan. We have heard you say that one too many times - we got it.

 
At December 11, 2006 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The situation in Goose Creek cannot happen everywhere in town, because this is a controlled area with limited access in and out. However, the concept of concentrating efforts on criminal, environmental, and housing enforcement is key to success. It is critical for the police department, public works, and inspection department to form relationships to perform this (true) community policing.

This is something I know Mike Loos was attempting to accomplish. He had already wrestled control of the weed cutting crews from the parks department to assure more effective response with that problem. He forged a relationship with the Community Policing officers, Murphy, Hansen, Bittner, Fuller, and Berger, and allowed Tony Haut the freedom to concentrate in the Goose Creek area. Tony did a terrific job! I also know Loos was working with Tom Byland to coordinate efforts with cleanups, and pushing for pick-up trucks for the code enforcemant officers so they could handle smaller amounts of debris immediately.

We lost a committed team player for the neighborhoods of Davenport when the QCRPA railroaded Mr. Loos. If anyone had dealings with him, they know he was given a raw deal by the QCRPA and the city. I'm sure we have not heard the last from him or his lawyers.

 
At December 11, 2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Dav Pigglet said...

To 7:21,

I agree with you 100%! Mr. Loos was an asset to the City of Davenport and to the Neighborhood Enhancement Office.

 
At December 11, 2006 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Landlord enforcement was and has been a joke in Davenport for several years. People tried to get them to enforce things on Heatherton to no avail. People keep blaming the Rental Property People's organization for the ills. No so. There is a need to help the landlords get rid of bad tenants. If you have not tried to get rid of a dead beat under the current laws and with the judges you have not walked in their shoes.

Tenants needed to be held responsible. We needed to keep the Civil Rights people out of the eviction process. Try to get rid of a person of color in Davenport when they run to the Civil Rights Commission. Boy are you in big trouble. You are guilty of discrimination. Even if they cook a hog in the bath tub, you will be hard pressed to get rid of the tenant. The only way to get rid of them is to have them burn the place down.

With the Sexual Orientation law you can have a pervert in your place and unless he is caught in a sexual act with a minor, try to get rid of him based upon reports of his sexual acts with children.

 
At December 12, 2006 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuses excuses. The problem landlords own problems properties and have problem tenants. They cause the problems, period. If you are a good landlord you may get burned once, but not twice. The chronic ones are the negligent Landlords who view the central city as a place of no value other then to them in slum rental businessess. Bad Landlord don't screen tenants and rarely visit their properties. They don't value the homeowners around them and they don't care what happens to the neighborhoods or their properties. This must change.

 
At December 13, 2006 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Loos did not enforce weed cutting. For example, to the left of 1008 Arlingotn was a field of weeds, and he refused to have them cut. The success of Tony Haute in Goose Creek was an exception, not the rule. It was only because Tony had a good personal relationship with some police officers that it worked. As a rule, the inspectors working under Mr. Loos were allowed to ignore crime. That had been the case for years and has not changed.
Finally, nobody railroaded Mr. Loos. He refused to take a lie detector test and quit his job.

 
At December 13, 2006 11:05 AM, Anonymous Bill Peterschmidt - Goose Creek said...

I believe that there were some issues with the NEO that needed addressing. Yes, there were some areas that needed abit more attention than others and that may have been the fault of the inspectors assigned to that area and no so much Mike Loos'. All the problems seem to be coming from two different areas, that being southeast the west side of Davenport. If memory serves me right, the south east was Dan & Jean's area (I've seen them both still doing inspections lately)and the west side was Brenda and Jeff's area. I have not seen them lately nor have I seen them while the NEO was running. All the other NEO seem to have been doing a fine job.

Now on the other hand, Mr. Haut was the exception and did do a excellent job. He had formed a relationship with the NETS Officers, along with the landlords and tenants of Goose Creek.

Hopefully the city can redevelope that same mixture of dedication and partnership that made community policing in Goose Creek work and use it throughout the whole city. This could and would be the solution for the housing problems for the city we love.

 
At December 13, 2006 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, although I do believe the problems were from the head down. Mr. Loos was given notice of specific code violations, and he actually refused to address them. For example, he ignored the weeds to the left of Arlington, and he ignored a slum property on Farnam where a guy had shot a cop and the building had a door to nowhere leading out of the second floor....

 
At December 13, 2006 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again with a poster saying that because the NEO didn't write a property up for a violation on a door, the tenant shot a cop. Now there is some QCRPA judgement for ya.

 
At December 13, 2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Dan 1:28AM: Gosh your up late again. You should get your lies straight before you put them on the blog. There is no 1008 Arlington you moron.

 
At December 13, 2006 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With reading all the posts, it appears that the Neighborhood Enhancement Office did work but failed to have key personel in the proper areas. And that may have been the reason for the council to do away with the department. So unfortunate for those who did their jobs correctly. I hope the city can fix the problems and reinstate the NEO because our fire department is too busy to take on these duties. Truely a mistake.

 
At December 13, 2006 11:36 PM, Anonymous Moving to Eldridge said...

A lot of money could have been directed to slum lord inforcement if it had not been poured down the Roosevelt School money hole. It cost nearly $60,000 to heat that place. There are other costs that go on even if people are not using the facilities. We can thank Roxy Moritz for getting that money hole for the city. We could have used that money for slum clean up and cracking down on slum lords.

It took the death of the dentist that ran all of those apartments to start the clean up of some of those places. Look at the problems with his apartments in Moline that are just now being declared unfit to people to live in.

Thank you Roxy for leaving Davenport in a mess and that includes voting for millions of dollars on stupid things on the river front!

 
At December 14, 2006 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I have to say this is not Dan. Second of all, I stand corrected, but only on a minor point. The weed mess that Mr. Loos was informed of and refused to correct was next door to 1108 Arlington, not 1008. Secondly, under the leadership of the time, the NEO always concentrated on the good properties and ignored the really bad ones. That was easy work for them. There is no reason to re-instate a failed beaurocracy like the NEO. The fire departemnt has the resources to do a better job. Of course, most anything would be a better job. The way to make the department succeed will be to concentrate on the messes, and leave the good landlords alone.

 
At December 14, 2006 10:26 AM, Anonymous Joe Fixit said...

To 11:36 and 2:27,

You are both morons! And I say that because you will never get it.

First, Doc Kendall knew that his properties were out of hand. Trying to find a buyer for them was very difficult with the soft housing market. He basicly gave them away to get out. Doc Kendall died months after the properties were sold to an old business associate.

Second, as a Davenport taxpayer, I have no problem with money directed to the Roosevelt School project. This is a small amount of money for a good cause of building a stronger neighborhood. Ms. Moritz and Rick Dunn have done a great job. I would bet Rick would be a great alderman.

And Last, right address or not, your still wrong. You have no working knowledge of a full time fire department. If anything, you made the NEO even stronger by involving the fire department. The fire boys will not listen to you about the petty BS. Rules will be enforced (like in the military)and there will not be second chances for anyone. Fees and fines will go up, new codes will be passed and the old codes will be defined. We all know that if you mess with public safety, you will lose. Period! So fix your screens and put batteries in them smoke detectors 'cause the housing inspectors are coming to you properties!

 
At December 14, 2006 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here here here,.

 
At December 14, 2006 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1108 Arlington: Tony Lahood's property. And he's complaining about a vacant lot next to his. Stay tuned folks, I'll visit the files on these two addresses tomorrow and give you the real story behind 2:27AM post.

And Dan, we know its you at this time of the morning, who else would worry about this blog instead of dreaming about ways to screw people out of their money.

 
At December 14, 2006 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A simple answer to the accusations of the NEO spending time on good properties would be to find out what the average number of violations per unit inspected was for any given year.

 
At December 14, 2006 9:30 PM, Anonymous Joe Fifthward said...

To 10:36

Wow! That felt GOOD! You should light a cigarette after that ass kicking!

 
At February 27, 2007 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

off campus housing

 
At February 27, 2007 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

home page

 

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