A neighbor recently attended a presentation about VCU students impact on the community. Here are his/her notes.
VCU explained that they were dedicating officers to work with surrounding communities on VCU/student related issues. Even if you don’t live in a traditional VCU “area” such as the fan, these officers will work with you. VCU is also monitoring social media to proactively respond to potential trouble areas. You can always call the police (non-emergency line) or you can reach out directly to one of their External Relations Officers:
Greg Felton (VCU Police, External Relations Officer)
VCU explained that Students are expected to follow the ethics code even while off campus. This allows VCU Police to work with students to resolve any neighborly complaints even if they aren’t technically violations. VCU is also working to address graffiti and trash, especially during move-out season.
From a legal perspective, Richmond PD encourages you to know your rights and the actions you must take to pursue legal recourse. Most important is to start a written record of any problems you have or experience. If you involve the police, make sure there is a report, as they also must document what is going on. Many violations must take place in the presence of an officer in order for them to take immediate action. Otherwise, they must demonstrate that the neighbor/house is a “repeat problem house” through documentation of incidents. However, 5 or more citizens can go to court and create an injunction if they so wish.
The noise ordinance specifies anything over 65 db during daytime and 55 db during night time is in violation. Daytime is considered 7am to 11pm. Unfortunately, loud bass does not usually get picked up on the sound meter. In order for the police to measure db, you must allow them into your home to measure and it must be an officer trained in the use of the equipment. In most cases, the officer will assist you in resolving the situation simply by asking the neighbors to stop.
Many residents complain about parking or vehicle vandalism. This is particularly problematic in the fan and surrounding areas. Richmond zoning states that no more than 3 unrelated people may live together in a single residence. However, it can be easy for apartment owners to get around this by installing locks on individual bedroom doors and providing individual leases. You should consider carefully before pursuing this legal option as the result may be worse than the current situation (ie, a owner turning a house into a multi-tenancy rental).
Many residents find the most effective way of dealing with students is to introduce themselves as neighbors, before they have problems, so you can resolve them amicably. VCU is educating their students, especially those living off campus, the importance of maintaining good relations with neighbors and many of them are taking proactive steps to become a part of their neighborhoods.