Fight the drugs, take back Butler act...
John

Butler, PA

#24 Mar 20, 2009
Everyone here has pretty much hit the nail on the head... You want rid of the druggies and problems? STOP the slumlords from buying houses that are turning homes into money factories and not caring who they rent to.

The Butler VA now has that rehab there... and those users are walking up and down the streets too... the neighborhood near there wasn't even asked if it would be ok to have that there... they just put it in there.

Ever notice how many people are walking the streets after 11pm??? what is up with that?? DUI victims? drug dealers? very strange!
sidonia

Butler, PA

#25 Mar 21, 2009
There are an unusual number of cars around the mall closing time as well. My kid mentioned that two cars parked near each other and were blinking their lights on and off--one blinked its low beams, the other its parking lights. Perhaps just a class project on Morse code.

The positive action of rewarding home buyers who convert rentals to single-family dwellings is a plus. Maybe a way to make the rentals more long term instead of month to month (since not everyone can buy a house) could be another positive step. Any real estate attorneys out there with input on this problem and possible legal solutions? Maybe something could be submitted to city council as a legal remedy to the high turnover, which causes more than just drug problems. Why take care of the property or worry about relations with the neighbors if you aren't staying? Whole areas are going down the tubes because of homes like this on the block.
Screw MADD

Butler, PA

#27 Mar 21, 2009
Any body who thinks Drugs are bad around here has never lived anywhere else. They must be living under rock somewhere. Drugs are everywhere, and a whole lot worse than this little town. This town is nothing to other parts of the country. People are over dramatizing this town. The real problem is the "War on Drugs" a failed policy that has resulted in trillions down the drain.
John

Butler, PA

#28 Mar 21, 2009
AMEN Sidonia... families need to come back into Butler. Why take care of a place whenever every few months to a few years its like a revolving door... and the slumlords dont care, as long as they can get HUD, or get their money and the houses rot... and the whole neighborhood suffers extremely. There has to be a way to get families to buy houses and push out the slumlords.

As far as the flashing lights, very suspicous.. probably kids screwing around, or worse.. drug dealing... I look for gangs to come here next... that will be the next thing to worry about.. this summer is going to be bad crime wise... everyone should keep their cars and homes locked up at all times! In fact, people should start installing alarm systems, home surveillance camera systems, and motion lights around their homes.
Architorture

Butler, PA

#29 Mar 21, 2009
so people aren't allowed to walk at night? you absolutely must make all evening travels in an automobile to be above reproach?

i live in town and whenever my wife and i go out for dinner or drinks in town we walk- why drive 1/2 mile?

if more people did walk places and were out on the streets at night there would be less problems...if the general public is out and about on the streets it puts eyes on the streets and keeps those who are up to no good elsewhere...instead everyone moves quickly through the city in the 'safety' of their own cars
John

Butler, PA

#30 Mar 23, 2009
Architorture... yes I understand your point.
You live close to where you want to go, so why drive? However, there are people that are walking through other neighborhoods casing what people have... Decent people need to outweigh the criminal activity, true... but with all the drugs running rampant in this town, I find it quite fishy when I see people walking down streets after 11pm at nite... and this is not just in the city I am talking about either.
Sidonia

Butler, PA

#31 Mar 24, 2009
Let me back John's point with an example.

My spouse and I are sitting on the porch one night last summer, close to midnight. Far up the street, where street lamps are scarce, car doors slam, four young males get out. Three go for their late night walk up the street past us; the last disappears between houses for a few minutes, then reappears, heading in the same direction as the others. He is trying to raise them on his flip phone. We took his photo when he stopped under our light, causing him to storm into our yard, demanding the device holding his visage. Minutes later, he returned to the sidewalk, sans his photo or our camera, to find his friends and exit the area. NO vandalism or petty thievery reported in the area that night, which made it substantially different from almost every night the previous two weeks. Garages burgled, cars cleaned out, stuff taken from yards and porches, even some homes entered--that had been the standard. We were outside only because it was too dang humid inside. Could be they were the neighborhood watch and we misinterpreted the whole thing. If so, I have his photo for his ID card, if he needs it.
Architorture

United States

#32 Mar 24, 2009
i understand that you are making a distiction for the individuals who intend to cause trouble as opposed to regular citizens out and about in the evening...

but i think it is an important point to recognize that if more people with good intentions were on the streets after dark- or more importantly- if there was a good reason for them to be out such as an actual night life around the city- there would be many less problems with those who have ill-intent

that said i think the actions of sidonia are commendable and another important element in the solution... there needs to be members of the community who are willing to stand up and defend their communities...

butler needs to install a comprehensive and well organized community watch program with significant cooperation from city police and with guidance from the state police who actually have programs that help communities establish watch groups and best practices for keeping the community safe...
Sidonia

Butler, PA

#33 Mar 24, 2009
I agree--but the difficulty is the high turnover rate for parts of Butler due to the large number of rental properties. in our case, we didn't act quicker because there are at least two rental properties down the street near where the car was parked, and it has been very difficult to keep track of who is a resident and who isn't. I did not want to wrongly harass a neighbor, even if not permanent in nature; it took overhearing part of the lively phone conversation to realize what might be going on. Also, most couples don't reach twelve feet tall when added together. We were able to look menacing, even in our pajamas. Most people don't have that affliction.

We must overcome the transient nature of parts of our community and the lackadaisical attitude for you are right. Vigilance can create a hostile environment for criminals. Its easier to function where lights don't go on and no one accosts them. Any idea on how such groups can get fires lit under them? Because I am on board.

Since: Mar 09

United States

#34 Mar 24, 2009
you make a valid point...portions of the city have extremely high levels of non-owner occupied housing which tends to make the solution more difficult...

some renters don't care about the appearance of their residence and careless landlords allow this to happen... how many porches are there around the city overflowing with junk out to the sidewalk? too many.

such a state of disrepair creates a general sense of disrepair which is another contributing factor to the problem...becomes harder to get quality tenants so you settle for marginal ones that continue the downward spiral and you eventually end up with downright bad tenants that are the problem themselves...

unfortunately there seems to be little incentive for the landlords to crack down on tenants and there seems to be little will from the city to crack down on landlords or create or enforce ordinances that would make some of the marginal neighborhoods at least appear better...

i think your point about feeling able to stand up to troublemakers is also valid- no one wants to be the one who stands up and then gets beaten down or targeted because they got someone else in trouble...that is where the organization part becomes important... would-be trouble makers need to realize that its not just one couple in one house but that its a large group in the community that is watching out and cannot be easily intimidated into backing down...

luckily at this point troublemakers aren't carrying around huge arsenals or roving in large gangs that would present an insermontable challenge to a mere community watch group... now is the time to nip it in the bud before it elevates to the next level when it will be out of hand...

the community services unit of the state police does presentations on starting and maintaining a neighborhood watch... in a few places i have noticed the signs around the city but i'm not sure if they are actually active groups or not
John

Butler, PA

#35 Mar 24, 2009
Architorture... Sidonia... you are both bringing up very good points. These landlords, a.k.a. slumlords to me, are getting away with murder. Also though, some of the people they rent to need to throw out all their junk and clean the places up, no need to live like a pig stye. I know of one slumlord myself that I would like to see sell the properties to deserving families that need a home. Thats the only way you are going to get rid of the transients in this town...

BUT of course, to get families here, WE NEED GOOD PAYING JOBS!! and I am not talking about retail and fast food jobs. I am talking about good paying jobs with benefits. Butler needs to diversify into different fields.

Sidonia, good job on watching out for your neighborhood! If that kid was asking for his photo, he is probably up to no good!! If he was with a community watch group... he wouldn't of cared if you took his pic or not and would have introduced himself... of course, where is politeness in this world anymore???

Since: Mar 09

Butler, PA

#36 Mar 24, 2009
i wouldn't go so far as characterize all landlords as slumlords...not everyone is 'mining' real estate waiting for that day when they just abandon the property or let it go to sheriff sale...

there are good landlords out there, sometimes though they need incentives as well- be it the carrot or the stick... there are some programs in butler that do give grants or loans to landlords to improve their properties- but i think few know or care about them...

ultimately i'm not so concerned about the number of 'transient peoples' around town b/c that will never change given that butler is the county seat and home to many social programs and also the proximity of the VA hospital... these populations will always be here

you are right though- there needs to be some real jobs... there are obvious reasons for westinghouse to be in cranberry...but imagine if they had decided to build in butler? something on that order would be a total game changer...
linux geek

Memphis, TN

#37 Mar 26, 2009
John wrote:
BUT of course, to get families here, WE NEED GOOD PAYING JOBS!! and I am not talking about retail and fast food jobs.
Jobs are the key- Healthy productivity.
and blind incarceration is not the answer.

Here's a clip from a recent NY Times story.

"But in the long run, the changes are expected to save money because sending offenders to treatment is less expensive than spending $45,000 a year to keep them confined."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/nyregion/26...
John

Butler, PA

#38 Mar 27, 2009
Right... even though there are good landlords... the tenants may stink... So, then we are back to square one... and in the end, its all a money making racket for the landlords and realtors the way i see it... they are in it to make money... When realtors sell these homes to landlords, one of several, or even a combination of things happen...

1) The realtor, knowing fully well that a person is a slumlord, will sell the place to him/or her to MAKE MONEY, commission... do you think they care about your neighborhood???
2) You could have a lousy landlord that wont fix things or remodel.
3) You could have a landlord that cares extremely about the property.... BUT... you could have a rotten tenant that doesnt take care of the appearance of the place. Hey, their name isnt on the deed, so why should they care??? So, they go and throw junk all over their yards that sits there for years, not ever picking anything up... the house becomes a revolving door house with druggies coming in and out of it all hours of the day and nite... loud parties going on etc.
4) The people that are renting the place could be a bunch of jerks.
5) The landlord could be a jerk.

If you live next to any of the above, I pity you!!!

Since: Mar 09

Butler, PA

#39 Mar 27, 2009
i don't know if you can blame it on the realtors... they are just doing their jobs and ultimately they don't care about who is going where and you can't really expect that of them...

there is no easy solution to the landlord/renter situation you just have to hope that more dedicated people get involved... the bad tenants make it hard for good landlords to keep being good and bad landlords keep away the good tenants...

no simple solution- just need to try to keep things from sliding too far when there is still a chance to stabilize things
John

Butler, PA

#40 Mar 28, 2009
yeah they are doing their jobs alright... some of the realtors themselves are landlords too... Things will not stabilize until there is a higher percentage of people that own their own homes in this town vs. landlords that rent out properties. But, then again we are back to the main problem of this town.... there are NO GOOD JOBS!!! I am talking about jobs that pay over $20 an hour or more with benefits... There has to be companies come into this town that pay people well so people can afford to buy a house. If Butler doesn't get a diversity of more companies and businesses.. how is it going to survive?? The 1800s mentality of this town needs to change!
cyn

Ashland, KY

#41 May 27, 2009
My landlord is an attorney and a huge slum lord,now my family doesnt do drugs we have rented from him for 8 years,but hes rented to alot of druggies on the street.He buys the houses thru the sheriff sales and then very cheaply fixes stuff or just lets it go and gets 685 to 700 a month for the house .And with him being a big time real estate lawyer and in zoning civil law etc,the county doesnt bother with him.He takes hud for his houses as well.His idea of fixing a rotting porch is replace two boards and but it up on cement blocks on one side.He doesnt put anything new in the house unless hes going to get an energy grant from the state to help winterize it.And thats just the house i know about.The problem is that hud is paying for alot of druggies to live in these homes,and theres alot of slum lords that make money off that mess.So the whole thing is one hand washing the other
Mike

Butler, PA

#42 Jun 2, 2009
If you owned rental property you would know how difficult it is. The way the laws are set up its hard to evict people no matter what they do. Why should people that are trying to better there life be to blame. The drug problem is so bad in Butler were is our police force? I stopped to get gas at a local gas station the other day with the kids. As i was pumping gas there was man a couple pumps over snorting cocaine in his car. This is going on in broad daylight again for as bad as it is were is our police force? It is sad that their more worried about handing out speeding or parking tickets than they are dealing with the real problem. These young teenagers are never going to have the life they should. The police get paid to do a job, but it seems like their scared. If that was a normal person that was not doing there job they would be fired. If law enforcement would get of their asses and grow a set maybe things would be different. ADDRESS THE REAL PROBLEM!
Get real

Butler, PA

#43 Jun 2, 2009
Mike--you choose to be critical of the police force. How would you combat the problem? Do you seriously think that that person would have been snorting cocaine in his car if there was a police car pulling into the lot? The city only has 3 or 4 officers in uniform and marked cars patrolling at a time. They cannot be everywhere. And I have a hard time believing that Butler is the only small city in this area, let alone anywhere else, where a person has snorted cocaine in a vehicle. The problem does not lie with the police force. Butler has a very large population of dirt. All the HUD housing and it is the only real urban are in the county. That is not going to change. Look at all the other communities in this county, from Butler Twp to Cranberry. That is where all the new business goes as well as the nicer new housing developments. Thus that is where the decent folks migrate to. All the HUD housing in the city and closer access to the low income services pushes everyone else to the city. It's not going to get better until the city leaders take steps to change that. I don't know what the answer is, but don't blame the police. They have their hands full. And as far as them being scared? Mike--why don't you contact the police department and see if they will let you tag along with them for a few shifts and go where they go, deal with what they deal with and do what they do. I bet the only "set" that you have shows itself when you sit at your computer being critical of others.

Since: Feb 09

Butler, PA

#44 Jun 2, 2009
Mike wrote:
If you owned rental property you would know how difficult it is. The way the laws are set up its hard to evict people no matter what they do. Why should people that are trying to better there life be to blame. The drug problem is so bad in Butler were is our police force? I stopped to get gas at a local gas station the other day with the kids. As i was pumping gas there was man a couple pumps over snorting cocaine in his car. This is going on in broad daylight again for as bad as it is were is our police force? It is sad that their more worried about handing out speeding or parking tickets than they are dealing with the real problem. These young teenagers are never going to have the life they should. The police get paid to do a job, but it seems like their scared. If that was a normal person that was not doing there job they would be fired. If law enforcement would get of their asses and grow a set maybe things would be different. ADDRESS THE REAL PROBLEM!
Mike, did you try calling the police? If you feel you see a crime being committed, that is usually a good place to start.

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