Stealing Recyclables, Noise Regulations, and Other City Issues:
At the Ukiah Police Department (UPD), we get calls for lots of different reasons. They basically fall into three categories: the first tier is crimes against people, such as robberies, murders, and assaults. These calls get top priority. The second tier is property crime, like theft and vandalism; and the third tier is quality of life, which includes drunk in public, abandoned vehicles, and signage. Sometimes these calls can be funny; like the burglar who was stuck inside a business and called 911 to ask the police to rescue him. Other times, calls that seem like a small thing can have a major effect on the quality of life within a neighborhood.
During the last few weeks, our department has received reports of people going through trashcans left out overnight to collect recyclables. What most people don’t know is that taking recyclables is actually a crime within the City of Ukiah. Our garbage rates are, in part, determined based on what we as a community recycle, and the value of the recycling for our garbage collection agency; stealing the recycling increases our garbage rates.
I’ve summarized some key points in the City’s Recycling and Anti-Scavenging Laws below. The full text can be located at http://www.codepublishing.com/ca/ukiah/
From the time recyclable materials are placed at curbside, they become the property of the City’s authorized recycling agent. Unless you are that recycling agent, you cannot collect or pick up any recyclable material from a designated collection location. Each such collection (from one or more locations) violates the law, and will be punished as an individual offense.
Another common call for our police officers are violations of our City’s noise ordinance. This ordinance was designed to limit loud construction, loud music, and other loud activities between 10 P.M. and 7 A.M. Basically, it boils down to this:
It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or continue any loud, unnecessary, or unusual noise which disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood, or which causes discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness residing in the area.
We judge the noise on standards like those listed here:
A. The level of the noise;
B. The intensity of the noise;
C. Whether the nature of the noise is unusual;
D. Whether the noise stands out against the level and intensity of the background noise, if any;
E. The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities;
F. The nature and zoning of the area from which the noise emanates;
G. How densely the area is populated from which the noise emanates;
H. Whether the noise occurs at a time of day when most people expect relative quiet;
I. Whether the noise occurred only once for a short period of time or occurs more than once and for longer periods of time; and
J. Whether the noise is produced by a reasonable commercial activity during normal business hours.
People who break either the scavenging law or the noise ordinance can be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first violation; two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a second violation within one year; and five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation within one year of committing the first offense.
Dealing With Transients:
Sometimes people feel uncomfortable addressing noise and scavenging issues with transients, which is understandable. UPD detectives will be starting a campaign in the next month or so to educate businesses owners and their employees about how to handle these and other transient issues, such as loitering and panhandling. Posters will be posted and a resource guide with contact information for local service organizations will be distributed.
While these nuisance issues are important, they tend to take a back seat to more serious crimes. With more police officers, we could tackle all the problems, but for now, we’ll do our best with the excellent officers we have now. We’ll prioritize each call and handle as many as we can.
An Update on Officer Covella:
After last week’s article on the heroic efforts of Sergeant Marcus Young, I heard from a few people who asked what had happened to Julian Covella – the young cadet who helped Sergeant Young during this horrific event.
I am extremely proud to report that today Cadet Julian Covella has become Officer Julian Covella of the Ukiah Police Department. Julian has been serving the Ukiah community as a Police Officer since 2006. Julian currently serves as a Field Training Officer, training new recruit officers, and as a department defensive tactics instructor, teaching our officers how to protect themselves during physical encounters.
Our community is extremely lucky to have Officers such as Marcus and Julian and as I said last week… As a Police Chief, I can’t thank our law enforcement officers and 911 dispatchers enough for the daily sacrifice they make to assure our safety. So, I’ll say it again. Thanks to all of you who keep us and our families safe.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.