Helping Hands

I know everyone is familiar with the old saying “it takes a village” when referring to raising children. The same quote can be applied to maintaining a safe and healthy community. The great City of Phoenix has many entities working together, as “helping hands”, to help ensure your community remains an amazing place to live. The police department utilizes some of these entities regularly to help alleviate some of the non-crime issues we may be having in your community. The most commonly used resources include The Neighborhood Services Department (NSD), The Streets Department, The Parks department and the PHX C.A.R.E.S program. All these departments and programs can also be utilized by you to maintain your community long term.

Neighborhood Services Department
The Neighborhood Services Department (NSD) is an amazing asset for the City of Phoenix. I jokingly refer to them as the city’s HOA. NSD’s main function is to address any blight type problems you may be experiencing in your area. This includes residential and commercial properties. There are eight common blight violations that NSD can help alleviate. They include: overgrown vegetation, junk litter and debris, outside storage, inoperable vehicles, vacant structures, fences in disrepair, on property parking issues, and finally graffiti. NSD has a team of individuals who inspect every blight related complaint they receive. When a complaint is called into NSD, these inspectors will work with the owner of the property to fix the problem. If the owner does not show an effort to fix the violation the inspectors can eventually issue a citation. Within the Black Mountain Precinct, we utilize their services for a large majority of the long-term community complaints we receive. We also have a monthly meeting to discuss properties we have in common and long-term solutions. The greatest thing about The Neighborhood Services Dept. is the complaints do not have to be police initiated. Anyone can contact NSD to make a complaint by calling 602-534-4444.

Streets Department
Another amazing tool for any community in the city of Phoenix is the Streets Department. The Streets Department handles a multitude of different issues pertaining to, you guessed it, the city streets. The Streets Department has inspectors who regularly vet complaints and do inspections of our city streets, ensuring safe travels for members of our communities. They handle problems which include speed limits, traffic control devices, abandonment of alleys, flooding, street sweeping, crosswalk maintenance and improvement, road grading and improvement, and everyone’s favorite…the speed hump program. Whether it be impatient drivers using your street as a cut through or an inconsiderate neighbor, every community has its challenges when it comes to traffic. The speed hump program was designed with the purpose of slowing traffic in residential areas. According to the program, listed on the City of Phoenix website, speed humps can reduce vehicle speed on a residential street by 7mph. As the City of Phoenix rapidly grows, we will continue to have our challenges with traffic related issues. It is vitally important to have the Streets Department to help maintain our busy streets. Being in contact with this department regarding street related issues is imperative to maintain a safe community. Questions regarding the speed hump program and other programs maintained by the Streets Department can be answered by calling 602-262-4659.

Parks and Recreation Department
The Parks and Recreation Department may be one of the most underrated divisions within the City of Phoenix. They maintain a multitude of recreational areas such as city parks, community centers, mountain preserves, several golf courses, public pools, the Phoenix Center of the Arts, and many other recreational areas and programs. No matter where you live in this large city, I would venture to say you are within walking distance of an amazing park of some sort. In the Black Mountain Precinct alone we have multiple mountain preserves, a city run golf course and too many parks to count. All are being run and maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department. Every district has Park Rangers who work tirelessly to keep the parks and preserves clean and safe for members of our community to use every day. They open gates to hiking trails, open parking lots to parks, and deal with trespassers and other issues that may arise in these areas. They also enforce the Park Code of Conduct set forth by the city. Parks and Recreation also has numerous employees who work at community centers across the city. These community centers give programs like block-watch and other community groups a safe place to have meetings and events. The Park Rangers can be reached at 602-495-5458 and community centers can be reached at 602-262-6862.

PHX C.A.R.E.S.
The PHX C.A.R.E.S. program is relatively new to the City of Phoenix. The acronym PHX C.A.R.E.S. stand for Community Action Response Engagement Services. The leadership in this great city identified the necessity for a program to identify needs and solutions of homeless or transient individuals. This program is a coordinated response to work with communities and specific individuals experiencing homelessness to educate and come up with long term solutions. The program utilizes many of the Cities departments in the goal of making life better for everyone involved. The program leads with Human Services assessing individual’s specific needs to get them off the streets with counseling, substance abuse and many other programs. The Phoenix Police Department assists by providing security for councilors when needed and addressing any criminal activities involved such as trespassing. The Neighborhood Services Department takes all the calls to the CARES program and routs them to the appropriate entities to take action. The Parks and Recreation Department conducts clean ups and engagement or enforcement in all our city parks. Public works will also respond to all complaints of encampments to clean the area of left over debris when individuals agree to take services offered to them. Last but not least the Streets Department offers services and keeps roadways, sidewalks and city easements clean of debris. PHX CARES is a great new program helping to make our communities stronger. To open a PHX CARES case you can call 602-262-6251 or make a case digitally at the City of Phoenix webpage.
This is just a small sample of the many different departments and programs throughout the city helping our communities flourish. The “helping hands” created by the City of Phoenix, makes this one of the best cities to live in this great country. I would strongly encourage you to research all the available programs and departments within the City of Phoenix to help you make your community great. All the information contained in this article can also be found with a quick search at Phoenix.gov.