Identifying problem properties and people and removing both from the community can bring down the crime rate, said Ald. Wade. And that's the role of the Community Prosecution Unit and the Chronic Nuisance Ordinance.
The Community Prosecution program deals with urban blight and quality of life issues. Partners in the program include police, Assistant City Attorney Adam Stephens, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney David Malone, city health and public works departments, community-based organizations, and citizens. The community prosecutors have an office in the 7th District Police Station at 3626 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Attorney Stephens can be reached at 935-7746, attorney Malone at 935-7758.
Nuisance properties, which can include gang, gun and drug houses, noise, overgrown weeds and trash complaints, are among the main issues the community prosecutors face. They act as liaisons with landlords and with the police department regarding repeated nuisance calls, and try to give owners the opportunity to correct the problems before prosecution. Criminal charges or civil actions can be brought against problem tenants or owners for nuisance activity and criminal behavior.
Responsibilities of the Community Prosecution Unit include:
- Nuisance Properties
Homes and buildings that are the repeated sources of complaints and police calls involving drug dealing, prostitution, gambling, trash, dangerous dogs and code violations. Encourage landlords to enroll in the free city Landlord Training Program.
- Crime Prevention
The Community Prosecutor is available to work with schools, churches and community groups to help residents get involved, to discuss crime prevention techniques and how to effectively report criminal behavior to the police.
To report a nuisance property you can also call the police department. The 7th Police District non-emergency number is 933-4444. Ald. Wade also wants tenants to know that the city Tenant Retaliation Ordinance prohibits a landlord from terminating the lease agreement or otherwise retaliating against a tenant for complaining of chronic nuisance violations to the police. A landlord may still evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, committing nuisance activity or violating terms of the lease.