Advice about Neighbors & Drugs
Archived Q&A and Reviews
We live in the Leconte area and bought our house a couple years ago. The neighbors (who own their home, alas) recently installed at least one (maybe two) grow rooms along with a couple of very aggressive pit bulls to guard them. The awesome part is that because of a new fence they put up only we can see the grow rooms and dogs. Also, the pit bull run/grow room side is directly outside our kids' bedroom windows (joy!) as well as our family room window. The grow lights shine right in if we don't keep blackout curtains up at night and open windows are NOT an option any more.
The dog run is always kind of horrifying, but I worry it's just shy of being genuinely neglectful. Likewise, I'm pretty sure they have at least two more dogs on the property, but I don't think they have more than four that would put them at odds with the city dog ordinance. And the dogs bark (and fight with each other) frequently at night but not quite enough that we have so far felt like calling the police is appropriate. The grow room(s) may be legal since the dude that lives there has disabled plates his car.
I guess my question is... can I call the police and ask if the grow room is legal? At what point is it appropriate to call about dogs, the condition of their living space, and their barking? Because our kids are small (1 & 3 years) the dogs seriously disturb me and the barking/fighting is definitely frustrating and loud. The grow room doesn't bother me so much except that it results in the dogs, to be honest. I'm likewise concerned that we're the only people that can see this situation. If anyone calls to report them it'll be obvious who did it.
Normally I'm an advocate for talking directly with neighbors when there's a problem, but this seems beyond that and to be honest the few interactions I've had with the neighbors and the people around their house have not filled me with confidence. Does anyone have any advice for us? Tired of the dog fighting, grow lights, and pot stench
There are a few things to watch out for so you CAN call the police..Can you tell if the dogs have constant access to water and food and shelter from heat/cold/harsh weather? If not you can call animal control and they will investigate and the rest will unravel if there is anything illegal going on. Also if you are concerned about the pot you can say that you smell it and that itself is ''bothersome'' enough to call the police (non-emergency of course) and let them know you can smell it and the lights are also bright enough to cause a disturbance. There are very strict rules about how many plants someone can legally grow and all of it is illegal when it comes to the Federal Government..and if its a large grow operation it WILL BE shut down within days. I say this from experience. You can always call and not give your name and you aren't the only neighbor or person in the area so I don't think you would be in any danger of being suspected by the people you are calling about. You and your children have a right to live in your house and not smell pot, those pups have a right to live their lives with people who love them and care for them and although your neighbor may have the right to smoke or even grow his ''medicine'' there is a way to do it not so brashly and to be respectful of you, your children and his community. J
First, let me say that that situation *sucks*. I can see some risk in all the options, so that's really tough. But I lean towards calling both animal control folks and the cops anonymously. If you choose that path, obviously do not start with a conversation with the neighbors. Only you know if this is true, but I would suspect that any number of folks know about their setup in one way or another, whether they can see enough of it or not. I also would not discuss the reporting with the kids around or with other neighbors. I'd do it but keep it on the QT. This is my suggestion because the other option --living with it-- feels dangerous on any number of levels. Anon
If I were you, I would call the police department and ask what your rights are with regards to noise pollution, potentially aggressive dogs, and unbearable bright lights at a time when you and your family need to sleep. Just because your neighbor may have a permit to grow marijuana does not mean he can inflict the conditions on you. He should be the one to put up black-out shades, and curtail his dogs, not you! Good luck! -concerned for your wellbeing
You can look up the city or county ordinance that pertains to the nuisance, copy it and send it to your neighbor. In Alameda County it's considered a nuisance for a dog to bark intermittently or constantly for proscribed amounts of time. I'd not mention the grow room. Might open a real can of worms there. Been there.
We have a 20 year old male neighbor who is on Meth. He is an addict and I think Bi-polar. The police have come to his house many times. He lives with his parents who are old and don't know what to do. He screams at his friends and parents outside his house and if our family is outside then it is really scary. I feel for the family and I know he has been to rehab but I don't think it ever stuck. We live a few doors down from this family but we have to walk by his house to get to bus and BART. We have two little kids (grammar school). Is there anything I can do to protect my young children? Is there anything I should be concerned about? I know he has taken many things from his parents and sold it for drugs. I am now afraid and have had panic attacks when I have heard him screaming. I know his parents care however they don't know how to handle the situation. The police have come when he has been out of control. However the police don't seem to affect this guy at all. Moving is not an option. I have read a great deal about Meth and how it affects users. I just wanted to know what I can do to feel safe. What can I do to keep my 2 young children from being involved. Any help would be very much appreciate. Thank you! Anon
We had a house-full of meth addicts three doors down over a period of several years (one set got sent to prison, but they sold the house to a ''friend'' before they went in). This is what we did to get both sets out (each were the homeowner).
Involve every single City and/or County agency you can think of. The more agencies you involve, the higher on the radar this address will be. We called: Police; Adult Protective Services; Animal Control (when the dogs got out); Code Enforcement (cars parked too long, on the lawn, couch on the front porch). EVERY TIME YOU CALL state that this is a problem address with a known meth addict with his name. Believe me, they will soon get to know the son's name. Call every time there is screaming to report domestic violence against the elderly with drug involvement. EVERY. TIME. Ask for follow up on all of your calls. You can also report things like code enforcement via the Internet.
Don't worry about calling ''too often.'' Meth is a VERY dangerous drug and you cannot take chances. We literally didn't go outside on our street for three years except to get into the car. It was terrible.
Take down the license plates of every car that comes to the house, including the parents. Don't feel guilty; by the parents giving harbor to the son, they are putting you and your children (and themselves) at risk. We had many ''drop-ins'' for those coming up to get their fix; most were in the middle of the night, but if they parked in front of our house, I did my best to get the plate. If you notice that any of the plates are expired, call DMV and the police and hopefully the cars will be towed.
Look up the name of the son on the state registry of probation (can't remember the Website, just look it up) to see if he is on parole or probation. If he is, contact local law enforcement to connect with the probation/parole officer.
Connect with other neighbors, both those on your street and those the street behind who share a fence with this house. See if you can get them to call in complaints as well. We all had a list of the various phone numbers, plus the son's name and the house address to make calling easy.
DO NOT talk to the son nor the parents. The son is incredibly dangerous.
Contact your City Councilperson. Ours got responses from us from various departments. He also helped us connect City PD with County Sheriff's, who in turn connected us to the probation officer. He also hosted a community meeting with neighbors, City PD, County Sheriff's, Code Enforcement, etc. to discuss strategies.
I know it seems like a lot of work, but really a lot of it making lots of phone calls, and hopefully getting other to do the same. Good Luck!
I may be stating the obvious here..but:
- Try to not go out there when he's there
- Carry pepper spray
- If you have a backyard, make it safe for your kids by getting locks for the gates or installing locking gates across your driveway.
- Don't let your kids play in front of the house
- If you ever see anyone else go into the house who you think might be a sibling to the addict, try and talk with them to share your concern for the parents and tell them the bad behaviors you've seen.
- If you ever see signs of any elder abuse, report it. J
I'm sorry to hear about your situation and feel for you. You had mentioned that the parent's are older or elderly, but not sure how old your are referring to. I am a social worker and my first thought if the parents are 65+ is to contact Adult Protective Services (aka APS) regarding potential elder abuse (possibly fiduciary in the least):
Depending on the severity of the situation, it could take up to 10 days before a social worker goes out to follow up on the complaint. If you choose to go this route and they take your complaint, be diligent about checking back in. Like a lot of senior services, they have been cut back and don't have the staffing they should, thus you may not know what happens unless you try to find out. Also, if the social worker goes out and nothing much is found, I would keep trying as creating a paper trail is important. If they don't take the complaint, in the least, you can consult with them for other intervention ideas. Good luck....... anon
We live in the North berkeley Hills. We have seen the police reports regarding a neighbor who was busted for transportation of Meth (2 oz) for sale. Neighbors have seen glass equipment that could be used for a Meth lab. There is late night activity and odd people coming and going all night. We are forming a Watch group, documenting licenses & visitors and talking to BPD. I've heard of H codes that may help us get the City of Attorney's office to file a civil court suit. Has anyone had to deal with type of situation or have any ideas how we can get our neighborhood safe again? Concerned on Cragmont
You and your neighbors might contact Grace Neufeld at NEIGHBORHOOD SOLUTIONS graceNSI [at] comcast.net http://www.neighborhoodsolutionsinc.net/ GrannyAnne
oh boy, do i feel sorry for you guys. yes, we had a similar problem, right next door as a matter of fact. i contacted the officer working in the department handling blight. they declared the property to be 'neglected' started leaving tickets for the landlord, starting with $250,then going higher and higher as the problem persisted. this is how a lot of cities are going after the problem, by fining the landlords. a $5000 fine is sure to get their attention. it's kind of like going after al capone for tax evasion. good luck. kmom
Sadly, we are dealing with your exact scenario. Although we are in Sacramento, I hope that what I can tell you of our experience may be useful.
The Sacramento DA office did in fact file a ''drug abatement'' lawsuit against our neighbors on behalf of the City. This was in response to the numerous calls over several months of issues at the house. Basically, a drug abatement lawsuit has more stringent requirements than a regular civil lawsuit, and is a result of the City getting sick and tired of getting called to go out to a particular address (for example, Code Enforcement had so many calls against the property that they simply tallied up the total number of infractions and delivered them in one large pile of papers, totalling over $10,000!).
We (the neighbors) have banded together via email and share information with one another. We had a community meeting with our POP officers, who coached us on writing ''Declarations'' for the DA to use in the lawsuit.
We have worked very closely with our POP (problem-oriented police) officers; they are the folks you call for non-emergency calls. There are POP officers for each geographic area; they are not many, but they are very available to us. They have helped us understand what we are to do when we see something/someone who isn't supposed to be at the property. We have contacted our city councilman, who has been in touch with the City Attorney's office.
We have tried to contact the homeowners insurance company to let them know about the TWO huge drug raids that happened on our otherwise (and formerly quiet) street, but we are unable to get that information (who the insurance company is). Our hope is that either the company would raise rates to the point the owners could not afford it, or call in the note.
We call the City on every single thing we see: Animal Control (they have two very aggressive dogs that are often out in front, off-leash), Code Enforcement (our neighbors have broken-down cars that sit for weeks, built an illegal dwelling in the backyard, things like that), POP officers for loud music, people working on cars in the street, cars parked in front of our houses in the middle of the night, waiting for their drugs to be ready. Although it has been a long process and is far from over, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the owners will be forced to sell/house will be re-possessed. Good luck! Claire
I would strongly suggest you hire a private investigator to gather the evidence you need. A good investigator has trained people and can get the information you need as evidence and can also guide you as to how to navigate the system, what is admissable, may have law enforcement contacts, city contacts, county contacts etc. I would recommend Butler and Associates. He has a law enforcement background and has been in business for many years. his phone is 925 969 1505 shelly