City Officials Hope for More Effort, Resources in Dealing with Problem Properties
Police and city officials in Minneapolis were very familiar with the home where 5-year-old Nizzel George was shot and killed because of neighbor complaints and frequent calls for service. However, the home does not meet the city's criteria of a so-called "problem property."
Roberta Englund is the Executive Director of the Folwell-Camden Neighborhood Association, and she believes the home where Nizzel George was shot should have been treated as a nuisance property.
"I think it's very fair to say more should have been done," she said. Englund says there are tools in place for the city to use, but they need to be adjusted. "I believe there needs to be a reevaluation of what amounts to the criteria or determining a nuisance property."
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says the home on Bryant Avenue North did meet the legal criteria for action. "There simply weren't sufficient numbers of incidents reported to be able to go forward."
Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson says she hopes to change city ordinance to make dealing with problematic residents easier, for example by requiring new leases signed in the city to allow a resident to be ejected if they commit a crime in the property. Council President Johnson says it's a difficult issue, "I'd hope we'd see some improvements, but I’m realistic."