NEW INFORMATION: Police, other agencies address concerns with Runway Avenue neighborhood

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- After nearly 13 years of apparent illegal dumping Eau Claire police led a clean-up effort in an area neighborhood

It happened for a few hours this morning in the Runway Avenue neighborhood, near the Chippewa Valley regional airport on Eau Claire's north side. The city hauled away 9,000 pounds of junk, including almost three-dozen tires.

It started with calls to the city about illegal dumping, area resident George Shiver says children would play in the trash, making forts out of old mattresses and couches. He says it would then result in cuts from broken glass and nails, potentially exposing them to infections, or worse.

Shiver says, “I'm glad to see that they're out here cleaning up. I've been trying for two years making the calls trying to get someone out here and now finally, I'm glad. It was starting to look really bad; a lot of illegal dumping has been going on over the years.”

Once complaints started coming in City Manager Russell Van Gompel says plans for a clean-up effort began. Van Gompel says, “We've received some complaints about debris and dumping going on in the area, we coordinated an effort with our city-county health department, our police department and our public works to try and clean up and hopefully get the neighborhood to take some pride and ownership in the area.”

Alyssa Sickler with the city-county health department says they first issued warning notices to the neighborhood tenants and landlords, if they saw any property violations, and gave them a timeline to clean-up by.

Sickler says, "It was 100% compliance with those properties that we left warnings with so, we were out here to see if those properties are still in compliance and issue new warnings violations for properties we find not in compliance today."

Once the tenants who'd received warning violations took care of their proprieties Officer Kyle Roder says the clean-up began, but Roder says the effort is about more than just picking up trash.

Roder says, "The point is that there are neighborhoods throughout the community that have issues, whether it's debris and garbage or if it's something else. We need the neighbors to band together, to understand that they're a big part of making our community a great place to be."

Van Gompel says signs have been places around the area by the city street maintenance to deter those from illegally dumping, and Roder says tenants have been informed to call the police department as well as take license plate numbers if they see any activity.

And, Shiver says he has no qualms about making sure violators are caught. Shiver says, "I know personally, I'll be taking their names, addresses and I have absolutely no problem turning them in if it continues."

Roder also says a police theory called the “broken window theory” ties in well in situations like these.
He says when there is debris or garbage offenders are more likely to commit crimes in that area. So, it's beneficial to residents of any neighborhood to maintain their area so they're less likely to attract any trouble.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (EAU CLAIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) --The Eau Claire Police Department is partnering with various Eau Claire City and County agencies to conduct a neighborhood cleanup of the Runway Avenue neighborhood amidst concerns of the neighborhood’s deteriorating physical condition, which can directly influence crime and disorder issues. This project is a collaborative effort with City of Eau Claire Inspections, Housing and Streets Divisions, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department and the Eau Claire County Recycling Program.

On June 6, 2014, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department assessed the Runway Avenue neighborhood and identified violations at numerous addresses within the neighborhood. Residents and property owners were subsequently notified in writing of the violations and were given a specific timeframe to properly remedy the issues.

Employees from each of the aforementioned agencies will be onsite today, June 25, 2014, beginning at 9:00 a.m., to conduct cleanup of those properties that neglected to comply with the violation notices. The employees’ time and resources used will be reimbursed through tax assessments to those property owners who remain in violation.
In addition to the cleanup, new prohibited dumping signs will be placed in areas. Increased police and neighbor presence will also help to deter violators from outside of the neighborhood. The Eau Claire Police Department is a proactive problem-oriented policing agency that partners with community members, private businesses and other governmental agencies to identify and address underlying issues before they lead to problems that elicit a reactive police response. This project is just one example of how problem-oriented policing and community partnerships can positively impact the community.

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