Shaneeva Yassin, Web Journalist & Producer
HOLLYWOOD (CBS4)- A South Florida police department launched a public safety sweep Tuesday to address code violations and property standards throughout the City of Hollywood.
The sweep was launched by the Hollywood Police Department at 10 a.m. at the Southeast Public Safety Complex and Fire Station 105 located at 1511 South Federal Highway.
“Hollywood is an incredibly beautiful community when it’s fixed up,” said resident Tiffany Granthan, “When it’s not fixed up, it’s not pretty.”
As code enforcement officer Sandra Brown drove around on the hunt for junk, it didn’t take her long to find it and out comes her spray paint can. In this instance, she finds an old, big screen next to the street for trash pick up, long before the scheduled hard junk pickup. It’s a code violation.
“If we allow everybody to put out stuff just whenever they feel like it, just whatever time what’s going to happen if we’re going to have junk everywhere,” noted Brown.
The public safety sweep began along the Federal Highway corridor from Pembroke Road north to Sheridan Street. Code enforcement officers also looked for graffiti, broken windows, overgrown yards, illegal dumping and debris.
Violators cited will have to pay a $100 fine plus the cost of removing the junk.
Police and code officers were not just looking for junk but also for trouble with foreclosed properties. There were squatters and crime at an abandoned block of property at Madison and Federal Highway until a new owner cleaned it up, working with code officers.
“Vagrants were coming in,” said developer Earl Lawrence. “What I did, at my expense, I went ahead and started boarding up the property and policing this up.”
The public safety sweep comes as part of a reorganization by City Manager Cameron D. Benson to place the Code Enforcement Division under the Hollywood Police Department Special Operations Section, according to the Office of the City Manager.
“This change allows the Code Enforcement Division to better coordinate its efforts with the work of our Police Officers,” Benson said. “We need to work as efficiently and effectively as possible to ensure code enforcement issues do not escalate to become criminal issues.”
During Tuesday’s sweep the code enforcement officers were teamed up with police officers assigned to specific neighborhoods to serve as Neighborhood Team Leaders (NTL) which address public safety and quality of life issues by working closely with the residents.
“Our efforts to increase the number of officers on the street have helped us reduce crime over the past couple years,” police chief Chad Wagner said. “Coordinating the work of our NTL’s and code enforcement officers will help us continue to focus on the issues that impact our residents’ day-to-day lives and their perceptions of safety and security.”
As part of the sweep, the department’s Crime Prevention Unit also reached out to residents to participate in Crime Watch and the Crime Watch Mobile Patrol. The goal of Crime Watch is to create a network of residents and business owners who work with the police department to report suspicious activity and help spread crime prevention information throughout their block or neighborhood.
By signing up, residents can receive automatic e-mail crime and public safety alerts through Crime Watch USA for their area.
The Hollywood Police Department also encourages residents and business owners interested in learning more about public safety and code enforcement to sign up for the upcoming Citizen’s Police & Code Enforcement Academy beginning Thursday, May 19 and continuing for 12 weeks.
Residents with code concerns can contact the code enforcement division at 954-921-3061.
For more information on the crime watch and to download an application, visit their Web site.