Neighbors shouldn't be nervous of each other
When neighbors phone the authorities on each other over nonviolent issues that arise between them, it replaces one problem with another and their property lines define a divide.
Several weeks ago, I arrived at home to find an ordinance violation notice slapped on a housemate's car that had been sitting in the driveway for several months with flat tires and an unregistered vehicle permit.
The ticket mandated that the "abandoned vehicle" be operational and registered within five days, or else the East Lansing Parking and Code Enforcement, or PACE, would be forced to tow it.
After talking with the PACE officer and explaining that the housemate had traveled back home for the summer, the officer allowed for an extension of the tow date, which was a generosity, he explained, because the notice was issued following a neighbor's complaint.
Although the car would either be fixed or taken away, the circumstances offer no real resolve between neighbors.
Without an understanding of each other's motives — why this person failed to maintain their vehicle and why this other person called on a third party to deal with it — the situation breeds isolation. Neighbors feel as if they can't speak to each other.
Although there will always be minor annoyances when living in close proximity to another, neighbors can turn into great friends and are those closest when an emergency occurs, so being in their good books is a pretty good idea.
It is easier, and not to mention more mature, to call the owner of the car to resolve the issue personally rather than have a third party deal with your issues.