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Police, New Port Richey look for ways to kick crime off the block

Ideas to clean up neighborhoods include property owners and landlords.

By JODIE TILLMAN
Published January 9, 2007


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NEW PORT RICHEY - Police officials will discuss with the City Council tonight new ways to clean up crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Among the Police Department's proposals:

-Create a citizen-run board that would recommend whether to take action against owners of properties that are constant dens for criminal activities.

-Start a training course for landlords that would include tips on screening applicants and looking out for the warning signs of drug use.

Chief Martin Rickus said the department has general ideas for the proposals, but details will have to be hashed out later with city officials.

Such "nuisance abatement" programs typically work hand-in-hand with code enforcement, which is more concerned with the condition of properties.

"We just want them (City Council members) to be aware of these programs," said Rickus. "It's more about talking it up and see what they want to do."

The Police Department's presentation comes less than a week after 30-year-old James Andre Paulin was found shot to death, the city's first slaying in nearly two years.

But Rickus says the timing is coincidental.

Celeste Lane, the street on which Paulin's body was found, has not been a problem area for police, he said.

Rickus estimated about a dozen properties, including some motels on U.S. 19, might qualify as "public nuisances" because of the criminal activities stemming from them.

By state law, the newly formed board could order owners to clean up their properties or risk fines.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at (727) 869-6247 or jtillman@sptimes.com.

 

 

[Last modified January 9, 2007, 00:00:10]


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