Code Crackdown in the Electric City

SCRANTON -- The city of Scranton is cracking down on problem properties. Code enforcement officers were out on foot and in force looking for violations. It was a request from neighborhood groups in the city.

The network of courts and alleys in Scranton's neighborhoods are sometimes best traveled by foot so, that's how code enforcement officers, police, and the city's mayor got around looking for code violations.

While in the city's Hill Section near the University of Scranton, Nicole Pettinato tagged along. She's president of the Hill Neighborhood Association.

"They're aware that we are out here and we are looking and making sure that things are cleaned up."

The group was looking for violations to Scranton's "quality of life" code -- things like piled up garbage and graffiti.

"Unfortunately, it is garbage pickup day, so there is a lot of trash cans just laying around still because the people still have time to come home from work and pick them up, or come home from class and pick them up. But, it is very encouraging, when I got the phone call, I thought, 'I'll be right there!'" Pettinato said.

Officers also walked through Scranton's south and west sides.

One quality of life citation costs $100 if paid within 10 days. After that, it goes up to $200.

City officials say they handed out fewer citations than expected, especially in the areas where University of Scranton students live.

But, they also say that's a good thing.

"When they see the code enforcement people and they see the police officer, they know that we're serious," said Mayor Bill Courtright. "I think it makes them more vigilant to keep their area clean and the way it needs to be because people live here. Some of the students and I'm not blaming the students, some of the students are in and out. But, people live here, this is their home and we need to keep it safe and clean for them."

Scranton's Licensing Inspections and Permits office responds to complaints on a day-to-day basis but the mayor says they plan to hold more enforcement efforts like this one.

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