Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

March 16, 2012

Neighbors should talk about disputes

GOSHEN — It’s always a good idea to get along with your neighbors. But if you can’t, there’s help for you.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, Goshen Police Department and the Center for Community Justice are utilizing a program to get feuding neighbors to talk about solutions to their problems. We believe this is a valuable program for Elkhart County as it can help resolve community problems that sometimes lead to larger problems.

We are currently having a very unusual warm spell in the Goshen area. One of the results of the great weather we have noticed is an increase in noise, especially from mind-thumping stereos in cars and motorcyclists gunning their engines. And we bet that as more people remove storm windows and replace them with screens, complaints about barking dogs will increase.

Barking dogs in the middle of the night can disturb an entire neighborhood, not just a next-door neighbor, so we are glad this program addresses that unpleasant problem. Police officers often get calls in the early morning hours to knock on someone’s door and warn them to get their dog under control. We think police officers’ time can be better utilized by patrolling and looking for trouble instead of acting as a neighborhood referee.

Perhaps this mediation program will lead to better communication between neighbors. We hope so. It’s far better for local residents to respect the peace and quite of those who live around them and take proactive measures to keep their dog from barking and waking everyone within earshot. But when that responsibility is abandoned, offended neighbors have this mediation program to call upon to try and get the problem permanently resolved.

“We just give them the opportunity to address their own issues before they get to a point where the police have to get involved,” is how Connie Caiceros, director of the Center for Community Justice described the program to The Goshen News in an article published Thursday.

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