Elmira Moves Forward With Law Targeting Criminal Activity in Neighborhoods

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-18) – The Elmira City Council continues to move toward passing new laws to deal with meth makers and other problems in city neighborhoods. They want to be able to shut down those properties faster. The city council says right now, it’s too difficult and takes too long to shut down properties involved with drug and alcohol problems, code violations and more.

Monday night, the council discussed the current law, which requires the city to wait for a criminal conviction before taking action on problems such as meth labs. The new law would only require they prove there has been a certain number of violations in a year, depending on the crime. Then a court can take action.

The council says waiting for a conviction isn’t working.

”These people are still living next door and the property values are going lower and lower and the morale is lower,” said Sue Skidmore (D), Elmira Mayor. “People want to leave their homes; they don’t want to live (next to criminal activity). Well, I don’t want to live there either. So, we needed to do something.”

”(The issue) still has to go to court,” explained city council member Dan Royle. “It’s not something where we can just wave a wand. It still has to go to court; it still has to face a judge. Ultimately, in the end, the only difference in our eyes is that it will allow us to move quicker.”

The mayor says Binghamton has a similar law and the changes have council’s full support. Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes on April 7.

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