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September 25, 2017

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How to deal with rude neighbors and handle residential conflicts

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Whether it’s a rowdy family with a penchant for playing polka in the wee hours or a bachelor too busy with Tinder drama to tame the shrubs, some neighbors just drive you nuts. Dealing with them can be frustrating, but there are plenty of avenues for resolving issues. From municipal agencies to mediators, here are some things to consider.

Official avenues: Where do you live?

Keep in mind

Code-enforcement offices handle the widest spectrum of concerns on the neighborhood level, as they are tasked with public safety and security related to land use, building standards and many other issues.

First, you need to know which local municipality you call home. If your address reads “Las Vegas, NV,” you might reside within official city limits or inside an island of unincorporated Clark County. For the former, the city of Las Vegas is your go-to for most neighborhood-level issues, while the county handles complaints from the latter.

Live in Henderson or North Las Vegas? That’s more straightforward. Residents should reach out to their respective cities for municipal services.

Similar jurisdictional considerations apply for police services. What is commonly referred to in the valley as “Metro” is actually the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It provides services to Las Vegas both within the official city limits and to unincorporated parts of Clark County. Meanwhile, Henderson and North Las Vegas both have their own police departments. If you want police to respond to a nonemergency, be sure you’re reaching out to the correct department.

Clark County spokesperson Dan Kulin says calling the wrong municipality for help is a common mistake. “By the time (someone) reaches out, they’ve usually reached their aggravation level,” he says. “If their first call is to someone who says, ‘That’s not us,’ that adds to their aggravation.”

Get help

Las Vegas Code Enforcement: 702-229-6615; [email protected]

Las Vegas Animal Control: 702-229-6444 (select option 2)

Report party houses in Las Vegas: 702-229-3500; [email protected]

Las Vegas online portal for complaints/concerns: lasvegasnevada.gov

Metro police: Many nonemergency service requests can be made online at lvmpd.com

Clark County Public Response Office (code enforcement): 702-455-4191; [email protected]

Clark County Animal Control: 702-455-7710; [email protected]

Clark County graffiti hotline: 702-455-4509

Clark County online portal for complaints/concerns: clarkconnect.clarkcountynv.gov

Henderson Code Enforcement: 702-267-3950

Henderson Animal Control: 702-267-4970

Henderson online portal for complaints/concerns: cityofhenderson.com and Connect Henderson app

Henderson police: Many nonemergency service requests can be made online at cityofhenderson.com/police

North Las Vegas Code Enforcement: 702-633-1677

North Las Vegas Animal Control: 702 -633-1390; [email protected]

North Las Vegas online portal for complaints/concerns: cityofnorthlasvegas.com and Connect North Las Vegas app

North Las Vegas police: Many nonemergency service requests can be made online at cityofnorthlasvegas.com/departments/police

Informal Avenues: Do you live in a community with an HOA?

Keep in mind

HOAs have limited enforcement capabilities if people ignore their notices.

If you live in a community with a homeowners association, that’s often the best place to start for nonemergency issues. HOAs are designed to protect property value and quality of life through (sometimes rigorous) guidelines. Did someone abandon a bunch of furniture on the side of the road after they moved out? Is someone hosting a porn production next door? It’s in the best interest of the HOA to quell that behavior through its own system of warnings and fines based on its CC&Rs — covenants, conditions and restrictions. If the offending neighbor is a renter, that person’s landlord will be notified to get involved in the effort toward compliance.

Does your neighborhood have a watch program?

Need help?

Every Metro Area Command has a crime-prevention specialist who can help people set up their own Neighborhood Watch, according to Ocampo-Gomez. He or she also can coordinate meet-and-greets between neighbors and agencies like code enforcement.

One of the greatest untapped resources in communities is the Neighborhood Watch Program, says Metro Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez. It isn’t just about posting signs and promising to look out for suspicious behavior on your street or block, it’s also an avenue for staying informed and connecting with your municipal agencies.

Police departments in Henderson and North Las Vegas also embrace Neighborhood Watch Programs and can assist interested residents in setting up one. Ocampo-Gomez says they are effective simply because they get neighbors talking to one another and not relying on a third party.

In the same vein, there are social-media groups and apps that help connect nearby residents on neighborhood issues.

Try this

One popular app is Next Door, which verifies residents’ addresses and groups them by location, allowing people within complexes, blocks and subdivisions to chat. For example, if something is stolen from your backyard, you can post to ask if anyone saw anything. If others have been victims, they might come forward to offer information that can be collected and shared with police. Municipalities have embraced the app and are now posting information to them as well.

Get help

The Neighborhood Justice Center within the Las Vegas Justice Court offers community-mediation services to help residents resolve disputes without starting litigation.

• Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday

• Address: 330 S. Third St., Suite 600, Las Vegas, NV 89101

• Phone: 702-455-3898

• Online: lasvegasjusticecourt.us

Legal recourse:

Don’t immediately jump to a lawsuit. Go to authorities that might be able to help, and if they can’t, consider third-party mediation.

If mediation fails, you may consider filing a nuisance lawsuit. The legal reference site AllLaw defines a nuisance as “any human activity or physical condition that is harmful to the health of another person, is indecent or offensive to the senses, or interferes with another person’s reasonable use and enjoyment of his or her property.”

How many people does your problem affect?

• Public: continuing disturbance adversely affecting many people. Examples: drug houses, prostitution operations, smelly factories

• Private: continuing disturbance adversely affecting few people. Examples: barking dogs, loud music, excessive garbage that attracts rats

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