Communities foster habits to encourage residents to maintain their properties and surroundings. Setting specific standards for the neighborhood is one way this is conveyed; there are positive and negative reactions to this strategy. Guidelines are set so that the community operates uniformly. Specifically, the village requires that residents maintain their dwellings and the grounds surrounding them. Residents are subject to unannounced inspections of outside areas connected to their property, and they are fined if properties are not maintained according to the established guidelines. Although some residents do not like the controlling tactics, this strategy does help them to develop a sense of pride for their neighborhood.
While community officials are concerned about the wellbeing of its residents, there is also an image that needs to be upheld in order to attract the attention of families that are looking for well-maintained neighborhoods in which to raise their children. Additionally, people want to live in areas where they can be proud to invite family and friends. Village leaders want to be sure they do their part to foster habits that get results. Although some people do not like the monitoring process, most see the importance and relevance of it. In conjunction with the village officials’ efforts to enforce the guidelines, residents are encouraged to anonymously report people who are not complying. After all, no one wants to see the deterioration of neighborhoods because of neglect.
In an effort to ensure that inspections are thorough, individuals from the village hall walk or drive around the neighborhood looking for potential problems, including non-licensed contractors, as well as roofing and gutter neglect. In addition, they inspect back yards to be sure animal waste does not build up and create health hazards. The length of the grass is also monitored. For the most part, everyone benefits from the enforcement of community rules and guidelines. Moreover, community pride results when families share in creating safe, beautiful neighborhoods.
The strategy that people in the community fear most is the imposing of fines; this occurs if warnings are ignored or if violations are not corrected in a timely manner. The minimum fine is $1,000.00; it escalates, depending on the seriousness of the violation. On the other hand, the higher the fine, the more chance that there won’t be repeat offenders. Granted, these fines result in added income for the village, but more important, the residents are forced to create neighborhoods they can be proud of. It is certain, people become more conscientious about maintaining their property when the threat of fines and penalties exists. Not only that, they become more sympathetic toward others who may need assistance complying with village demands. The income derived from the imposition of penalties provides funds to help keep communities functioning. Nevertheless, such fines and penalties are enabled by communities so that residents get in to the habit of contributing toward the beautification and upkeep of their community.
When it comes to community pride, people argue that they do not need village officers policing them. They contend that direct intervention by officers, some making inspections in police vehicles, causes them embarrassment. Even those that have such opinions admit that repeat offenders need to be policed. On the other hand, most residents are glad to know that when a violation is reported to the village, it receives prompt attention, no matter how minor it appears to be. Some have still gone so far as to say the village is meddling; those same individuals admit that they are proud to live in a community where everyone contributes toward the creation of safe, healthy, and beautiful neighborhoods. Without the intervention, the patrolling, and the meddling, they know their quality of life would be compromised. So, most people resign themselves to the fact that community guidelines are put in place with their best interests in mind.
In conclusion, community officials encourage residents to create safe, attractive areas to live in. They trust that each family will be mindful of the importance of maintaining and improving their surroundings; yet, to ensure consistency and cooperation, the community is strategically policed. In other words, the community officials are telling its residents to take pride in the community—or suffer the consequences.