Thursday, April 24

Is the 80-20 Policy part of the problem here?

It is my perception that criminal activity is rapidly spiking in urban areas throughout Montana. So, I find myself asking why?

It isn't just Great Falls, although we have a healthy share of the problem.

I submit to you that it is now the policy of the State Department of Corrections that only 20% of the individuals "in" the Department to be incarcerated. Too many criminals are being wholesale released from prison so that the DoC can meet this threshold.

If this is going to be our Governor's policy, he needs to provide our communities with extra funds for more parole and police officers.

Crime and Violence

No, this blog is not off hiatus. I have made the mistake of taking on too many obligations lately, and I just do not have time to blog. However, I would like to solicit opinions on how we all should begin to deal with vexing problems that continue to crate problems throughout the lower North side.

Just to give proper attribution, this post is based on a comment I made on GF Girl's blog here.

As you might have read in the paper today, Neighborhood Council 7 facilitated a town hall meeting for the residents of the 500 block of 5th Avenue North yesterday. The violence and drug activity there are unacceptable and we need to take steps to address those problems.

Neighbors on that block raised a lot of concerns at the meeting. Both 515 and 521 5th Avenue North are single family homes that have been converted into multi-family rental properties.

Both properties are in significant disrepair, and tenants often live in the properties for only weeks or months at a time. Residents of properties like these are responsible for much of the crime in the lower North and South sides of Great Falls.

As you can imagine, these properties are rented by those that are extremely low-income. What can only be regarded as a ramshackle slum is often their last resort before homelessness.

Anecdotally, the neighbors of those houses continue to observe activity consistent with the dealing of drugs. One neighbor said that she often observed dozens of cars stopping by 515 5th Avenue North in a period of one or two hours.

Most of the people at the meeting placed the blame on non-responsive landlords who "will rent to anyone" and "do not care what kind of illegal activity they do there."

Discussion turned to rental property standards and landlord licensing.

We have a problem on the lower North and South sides of Great Falls. By God, does it take finding a dead body in the street to wake us up?

We will clean up our downtown. I welcome your thoughts and ideas for the best way to do so.