Thursday, June 11, 2009

Neighborhood affairs

My secretary, JJ, was on the phone when I walked by her office on the way to Tuesday’s staff meeting. I only heard a short snippet of the conversation: “Why do you think he’s throwing it over the fence, sir?”

When she came into the meeting a few minutes later, I could tell it was an exhausting conversation, but I only had one question: what was the “it?” I knew it had to be a ball, tree limb, leaves, dog poop, or grass clippings. It was the dog feces. The caller wanted to make an appointment with the police chief to explain the details of his neighbors bad behavior.

Here are some short excerpts from Incident Reports detailing the precipitating grievance of some neighborhood disputes our officers have responded to lately. This is just a small sample, though:


…about the neighbors to the west always coming over into their back yard to retrieve their basketball that ends up in their yard.


…has been running their lawn mower into her drainage spout and knocking it loose from the stakes that hold it down.


…says there is new doggy poo in his backyard and he believes that they are letting their dog poop in his backyard.


…reported that her neighbor called her a [#@$%&$#! &$] when she asked him to move his vehicle forward so she could park her vehicle in front of her residence.


…reports that she gave her neighbor in the building an office chair, in exchange for his recliner. She stated that the chair she received broke while she had it and wanted her chair back


Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side - they could be handling their disputes this way instead of calling LPD.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like kids in the back seat of the car, doesn't it? Maybe if you'd threaten to stop the car-----!

Anonymous said...

This July there will be a captive audience with Memorial Stadium. The comedian appeals to a certain mindset of folks who may benefit if his opening act was a professional who talks about coping skills.

Education to the masses may be an incredible benefit to the citizens of Lincoln who make such reports to Police.

Steve said...

Maybe you should just be thankful these calls were not more serious, like a multiple murder, a hostage situation, etc. When I used to be in charge of delivering medical supplies and equipment, I always dreaded the phone ringing, as it meant one more thing for me to have to try and fit in that day. I was always thankful when it was something simple, like someone needing a new piece of tubing for their oxygen tank. That was a two-minute stop for whoever was closest to the address. Had it been a new hospice patient needing a hospital bed, oxygen tanks, a Hoyer lift, etc., it was another half-day job for someone.

By the way, in the middle of the expletive, on case A9-042898, there is a blue, underlined portion that I thought was a link to something, at first. I was expecting some humorous reference to what might have been said, but clicking on it did nothing.

Tom Casady said...


A chronic dispute between neighbors would rank as one of my most dreaded calls, personally. No one can be satisfied. I used to advise officers to handle these in preparation for the Internal Affairs complaint: make sure your recorder is on, identify the witnesses, make a report.

I was the subject of two nasty IA complaints emerging from neighbor disputes that I recall, one from the 600 block of A Street, the other from a cul-de-sac, Bodie Circle. It was just unbelievable to me how both of these complainants completely twisted everything I did or said. In one case, the precipitating event was a lawn sprinkler, in the other, tree limbs.

The spurious link in the expletive has been fixed.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

At least this guy isn't your neighbor.

Steve said...

I hadn't thought of it that way, but I can see where these calls might be more than a minor annoyance. I'm glad you have to handle them, and not me.

Grundle King said...

Anon 7:49,

What makes you think that LtCG fans are in need of such education? I don't see any to explain?

Anonymous said...

I have a complaint.... Yesterday I was sitting in my living room, thinking about how to help feed the hungry and all of a sudden, BOOM, I thought I heard an explosion. I went outside to investigate and I saw a bird (Robin) on the ground, it was apparent the bird flew into a window. The bird had fatal injuries, I was going to move it away, and all of a sudden another Robin was dive bombing me, not letting me close to the fallen bird. I was scared and had to swing a diggers shovel to keep this Alfred Hitcock Bird away, I want to press charges, can LPD find this bird for me, it has a very large golf ball size head, larger than most birds.

Anonymous said...

While all of these are quite comical, it's a different story when it's YOUR neighbor that is a complete arse. Police incident calls back up this as fact.

When you are left with no choice, and your only option is moving to get away from a neighbor that the entire neighborhood cannot stand. What is a sane person to do? You can't just move on a whim.

So, you say go to an arbitrator? Good luck with that one. You have to have two willing parties.

What to do? What to do?
Please somebody enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

I think the "Hatfields and McCoy's" still live on S 48th near Normal. They have been going at it for the last 15yrs I have been a cop. Both have video recorders pointing out of their windows etc.
It's amazing what people will waste their time and energy on.

Tom Casady said...


A rotten neighbor can make life absolutely unbearable. Believe me, in some of these cases, the harassment and annoyance is just extreme. In my experience, you have three choices:

1. Grin and bear it.
2. Wait 'em out, until they move.
3. For Sale.

I honestly believe that in some cases it would be best to just pack up and move. Put the house on the market, and get out. I know that's not "fair," but in many cases there is nothing the police and the criminal justice system can do to change the behavior.

A nasty neighbor is not going to prison for the rest of his life for Disturbing the Peace or Littering--even if there's enough evidence to issue a ticket from time to time. His general demeanor and conduct will be no better for the experience, either. Personality transplants are not in our repertoire.

It's not worth having your health and happiness ruined over the course of the next 20 years.

Steve said...


There is another possibility. Retaliate! Be careful enough not to commit any real crimes that would cost you money or time in jail. However, if you can make life more miserable for your neighbor than he/she makes it for you, maybe the neighbor will move.

Then, you just have to hope the next neighbor is better. Or, buy the place yourself and rent it to someone you choose.

Or, another option is to befriend your neighbors. Overwhelm them with kindness. Do them a favor once in a while. Scoop the snow off their walk. Pick up litter in front of their place rather than letting it be an eyesore to you. Take them a plate of cookies, or egg rolls, or something you think they might like.

I bet the chief would prefer this last option. The other one is liable to create more calls to him.

Anonymous said...

Grundle King...
I've been to the show and laughed through most of it. However, if I really do need to explain then I guess you too are in need of opening act as I suggested.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

We can all learn to get along.

Anonymous said...

You could always wind up living next to a literal nutjob like this guy.

that's what she said...

@ anon 2:27

'Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.' - Jimmy Durante (Or they might kill you with a pair of scissors.)

Eric said...

Abraham Lincoln once said, "I destroy my enemy by making him my friend."