My neighbor is driving recklessly and I don't know what I can do.
January 20, 2014 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Is there anything you can do about a confrontational neighbor who drives recklessly?

I have a neighbor who for whatever reason is driving recklessly and I don't know what I can do. In the past month he's crashed his car into a halfway house at the end of the block (from park- burning rubber then crashing straight through a fence), rear-ended one neighbor by trying to parallel park his car (with plenty of room) and then left his bumper in her bumper, and now he's sideswiped another neighbor's car, taking off the mirror.

I have read this thread. I don't know what his problem is nor do I care to speculate. He should not be driving.

Here are the complicating factors:
I live in one of those strange areas of LA where millionaires literally live next door to people near the poverty line. Because it's LA proper, not a little municipality with a sheriff, we have the LAPD and they are not helpful. When he crashed into the halfway house (which is for pretty low-functioning people and is kind of a shabby privately-run place) the cops didn't even administer a breathalyzer. I cannot think of any good reason why they wouldn't run such a basic test- he was completely out of it and refused an ambulance. I can't fathom that being the case if he had run into one of the fancy new houses on the street.

He's a weird, confrontational guy. He'll get into a shouting match with neighbors over parking and he has at least one active lawsuit with one of the other neighbors. He has no family that anyone knows.

So far these accidents are happening all hours of the day and night. There's no likely or safe time.

Is there anyone who can help stop this?
posted by Thin Lizzy to Law & Government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call/write/send neighborhood petition signed by neighbors to: the police, police commissioner, city council, state representative, state senator, that order...

or move.
posted by HuronBob at 5:30 PM on January 20, 2014

All you can do is keep away from the guy and call 911 when necessary. People are allowed to be terrible.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used to work in city government. People would call up with all kinds of nasty complaints about their neighbors and I would have to hunt down the appropriate people in city hall to make sure shit got taken care of. Get to know your city council member. They have an interest in taking care of this sort of thing. I mean, how are you not going to vote for the person that got rid of that asshole?

Call them. It is their job to listen.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:50 PM on January 20, 2014 [12 favorites]

Document everything.

Call the cops when he smashes into things, including telling them that you believe he has been drinking. Get your neighbours to call the cops when he smashes their stuff.

Don't confront him - this will only risk your personal safety.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:50 PM on January 20, 2014

Best answer: You will have an LAPD officer assigned to your area - I forget the term they use, but it's basically a community liaison. Find out who that guy is and contact him. (Maybe it's Senior Lead Officer, now that I think of it.) That guy can be of big help. Also, your city council person has liaison-type people on staff for stuff like this.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:59 PM on January 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Definitely bug your councilmember. They have actual power in this city. Call his office everytime something happens and express your concern. Be annoyingly persistant. It took a couple of years, but that is how someone I know near the reservoir finally got Garcetti to get the city to do something about her problematic neighbor.

I found the LAPD to be useless. I once tried to report an attempted break-in on my apartment (dude was halfway through my kitchen window when I saw him) and the helpful folks at Rampart division wouldn't take the report and told me it was my fault for having a window open.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:59 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I believe it is called your "Community Liaison Officer" and that is EXACTLY who you call for this in Los Angeles.

Call your local precinct, get this officer's contact info, and get the ball rolling.

It's this persons job to track and mitigate situations like this, especially when people in crisis are descending from "eccentric" into "possibly violent."

Seriously. This will get taken care of.


Definitely document his accidents to the DMV, directly.

Good luck. Thank you for following up on this!!
posted by jbenben at 7:31 PM on January 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Have you gotten any of these episodes on video, even with your phone? That could be helpful. Obviously don't stand out there and put yourself in danger, but if you happen to be able to record it from a safe location (or your neighbors have), include copies with your emails.
posted by emjaybee at 7:59 PM on January 20, 2014

Garcetti's staff seem pretty alert, more than the useless types that work for the council member's offices. I'd start with a deputy mayor for something, and then rope in the local watch commander. And every time the guy starts his car, call him in as a drunk driver. Get other neighbors to do it too.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:48 PM on January 20, 2014

The main problem here is that unless this person is actually caught whilst driving recklessly, there's not much for anyone to do. It's not like someone is doing illegal construction or running an illegal business, i.e., something that's always there. All the police would need to do in that case is walk on in and start issuing citations. No, here we're talking about someone who drives badly. Honestly, he's just as likely to be busted across town or on the interstate as in your block. But they'd have to catch him in the act for anything to stick, and the police are unlikely to order a stakeout of your block on the off chance of catching one guy in engaging in what is, for all intents and purposes, a fairly mild offense.

That being said, contact the LAPD and speak to the officer in charge of your neighborhood. Then contact city government and speak to the person responsible for hearing those sorts of complaints. That's basically all you can do. But don't be surprised if nothing comes of it. This kind of thing is really difficult for anyone to really solve.
posted by valkyryn at 7:57 AM on January 21, 2014

If LA will do a 'health and welfare' check on him or his residence; that might be the phrase of concern to use when calling the Police.
posted by buzzman at 11:43 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

And every time the guy starts his car, call him in as a drunk driver.

This will immediately get you on the list of "crazy man/woman from neighborhood X, ok to ignore". A friend of mine knows exactly which of his "strange man in the neighborhood" calls he can put off for hours, because those same people have placed multiple bullshit calls for mysterious strangers (probably just non-white people they see walking down the street) to 911 before.
posted by sideshow at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2014

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