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Securing and Improving Our Neighborhoods

The members of the Common Council are constantly working to improve the quality of life and safety in our neighborhoods. Among the ordinances supported by Ald. Zielinski, strengthening the chronic nuisance law, requiring more parental responsibility for young people who violate city ordinances, and requiring city notification when sex offenders move into a neighborhood.

Strengthening The Chronic Nuisance Law

Billing property owners for the costs of chronic problems that result in police calls has been very successful in Milwaukee. The law required that a letter be sent to property owners regarding the nuisance calls, and any additional calls could result in charges on the tax bill if the owner failed to provide a plan to stop the problem. "Now we've taken this very effective tool and made it even stronger," said Ald. Zielinski, who co-sponsored the ordinance to toughen the law for owners who fail to comply with abatement orders.

Under the law, when an owner has been notified that a nuisance exists and they've been billed on three or more separate dates within a two-year time period for the costs of enforcement, the owner is given 30 days to abate the nuisance or be subject to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. Nuisance calls include repeated incidents of littering, prostitution, gambling, graffiti, excessive noise, public drinking and battery.

Making Parents Accountable For Their Children

Parents are now more accountable for the misconduct of juveniles because of a city ordinance co-sponsored by Ald. Zielinski. Parents or guardians of children younger than 18 are required to pay fines if their children are convicted of ordinance violations twice in six months or three times within 12 months.

These violations can include truancy, loitering, disorderly conduct, shoplifting and underage drinking. "I believe this will serve as a deterrent and encourage parents to keep better track of their children," said Ald. Zielinski. The alderman sponsored an amendment to the ordinance which provides for fines of $200 to $400, twice the original proposal. A parent may be exempt from prosecution if they can prove that a sincere effort was made to address the problem.

In addition, Ald. Zielinski is introducing a school safety zone ordinance to double the fines for violations that occur within a 1,000 square foot radius of a school, and an ordinance that would make it a violation for businesses to serve juveniles during school hours.

"These would be additional steps to send a message to our young people that school is important, and there are some consequences for inappropriate behavior," said Ald. Zielinski.

Sex Offender Notification - Your Right To Know

The Common Council is concerned about numerous occurrences where those who have been convicted of sex crimes against children repeat the acts for which they had originally been convicted when they are released from custody. With evidence that the recidivism rate for released sex offenders and child predators is alarmingly high, Ald. Zielinski is the prime sponsor of an ordinance relating to community notification of those found guilty of the first, second or third degree sexual assault of a child.

The ordinance would direct the City Clerk to notify in writing residents within a 500-foot radius of a home where a sex offender is living. The notice would include the offender's name, information sufficient to identify the offender, the offense and the agency supervising the offender. The ordinance is expected to be voted on in January.