Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak, LLP
P. O. Box 2067
Huntington Park, CA 90255
Phone: (800) 663-7439
Fax: (888) 700-5188

February 15, 2001

      "Crime" is conventionally thought of as wrongful behavior by one person against another. The effects of criminal activity remain a great public concern in cities and counties throughout America. Law enforcement officers, and the elected officials who fund their efforts, diligently strive each day to win the "war on crime." Members of the press and broadcast professions proudly advise us that their station or newspaper is first to report the details of the latest crime and the misfortunes that have been visited upon yet another victim. These events stream into our consciousness on a "24/7" basis.

      Local governments, however, are engaged in another endless war, one that the public is generally unaware of and that the mainstream media is reluctant to cover. This struggle generally concerns "crimes" involving wrongful conduct not against persons in the traditional sense, but toward structures or unimproved land, with resulting unsafe or unhealthful conditions and a diminution of real property values. These are crimes of local building, health, fire, property maintenance and zoning codes. The blight and public nuisances that are occasioned by such crimes are all around us in the form of graffiti, dilapidated or unsanitary buildings and unkept properties. Blight begets more blight. The "war on blight" is being continuously fought by dedicated local building and fire inspectors and code enforcement officers everywhere, often with the assistance peace officers. Unfortunately, the pernicious effects of unchecked blight over time are not readily noticed or well understood. All too often, this war is inadequately funded and insufficient resources are committed to its effort.

      Communities, it may be said, assume an organic character like the human beings that compose them. Conventional crime and crimes of blight are intertwined, with one inevitably following the other. This vicious cycle infects our communities and threatens our health and welfare — but there is a cure. Over the last twenty years, I have worked with my partners and our client cities to find effective, resourceful methods of combating blight and urban decay. It works. We’ve seen it. Cities with a careful, methodical and constant approach to code enforcement will reap the rewards of cleaner, safer and simply better living.

      Code-Enforcement.com is intended to provide a public forum for the advancement of the field of code enforcement through education and the exchange of information. This site is dedicated to the elected officials and public servants who work so hard and continuously in the "war on blight." Lastly, it is an expression of gratitude for their efforts.

Steven H. Rosenblit
Code Enforcement Attorney
Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak, LLP