To understand this situation you sort of need to know how our complexes are laid out. Basically, there are two different complexes on two different streets, that are not in any way related, but do happen to both share a walking path. Both complexes back onto this walking path (which runs between two major blocks, and conjoins two major neighborhoods to the bus route). This path is fairly busy pedestrian thoroughfare.
My mom's townhouse (which I'm staying at for the next month) backs right up to this path. Our fence in the back yard IS the fence along the path. I'd guess that from our patio door to the path is about 35 feet. If that. So not far.
The problem is that there is a group of kids that I'd guess to be between 16-18 who go into the path to smoke, which wafts up into my bedroom window, where I'm sleeping with my 16 month old. And they are not just smoking cigarettes, they are also smoking marijuana (which I don't have a problem with in general, just the manner in which they are going about it).
Last night I took my daughter for a walk up the path to a little park and was DISGUSTED with the amount of cigarette butts and trash (soda cans, cigarette packages, etc) on the path. People also walk their pets along this path.
But most importantly is the fact that it's summer and all our windows are open and I have to lay in bed and be nauseated by the smell of cigarette smoke. (And they're loud and wake DD up.
I suspected that they were in the path because where ever they lived didn't appreciate their smoke, either. I was right, but more about that in a minute.
So anyway, tonight I took DD for another walk and it just so happened that they were in the path. I nicely reminded them to pick up their butts as my daughter tries to pick them up (yuck!). One of them said "we always do" in a really rude tone. I matter of factually pointed out that there were an awful lot of butts then. The same kid said "well a lot of people walk along this path". I know for a FACT that the butts come from them, as I see them standing out there several times a day. I can see them from my living room, back yard, garden, and bedroom. The butts ARE theirs! But I agreed and then pointed out that the majority of butts were where they hang out, and to just remember to pick them up. No biggie. Well as I was walking away one of them barked "this isn't your property". I countered "but I have a right to walk on this path and not worry about my child or my dog picking up or ingesting cigarette butts". And then I walked away.
And tonight it was marijuana they were smoking, in broad daylight. In order to get to the park I had to walk my kid past dope smoke.
Turns out the house they live in is RIGHT next to the little park (the hedges on their back patio offer privacy from the park it's that close), and is about 50 feet from the path. As I was finishing my walk two women passed me and ogled at the baby. I noticed they were walking down the driveway of the house where all the boys went into. I immediately turned around and wanted to talk to them.
I introduced myself and ask if they lived there with a bunch of boys. Turns out one of them lives there and she has two boys, and the rest were all friends. I very nicely explained the problem about them smoking basically under my bedroom window, and that the path is LITTERED with cigarette butts. And then I said "so, what do we do?". I wanted her to know I wasn't mad, but that I just want to find a solution to make everyone happy, like maybe putting an ashtray out there (a bucket of sand is what I used when I smoked).
She was very nice, and very apologetic. She says they smoke there because she won't let them smoke in or around her place, and the other neighbors didn't want them smoking in their "other spot", so now they're in the path.
I also told her that one of them was smoking dope. And the reason I did this is because I think it is in bad taste to flaunt that in the faces of people who, in their own homes
, have no choice but to smell it when it wafts in their windows.. short of closing their windows in the middle of summer, I'm sure there are about 4 units all in this corner who can smell them. I have no problems with people smoking, but I take issue when the second hand smoke is forced upon me and, more importantly, my daughter. If they are going to smoke pot, I think they should do it where all the neighbors are not going be forced to smell it, and where there are no kids (they were literally within a stones throw from a PARK).
She seemed really exasperated, like she's been dealing with this for a while now (being a single mom with teenage boys must not be easy). And I'm sure what I told her was nothing new, but I'm also not going to get into a pissing match with a 16 year old, either.
I also feel that some people will be intimidated by a group of teenagers, all dressed in black, a couple with long hair, and smoking dope in a secluded path, enough to not want to walk down it. It makes for a LOOOOONG walk if you go around, and there are a lot of elderly folks in the area (and we're on a hill). They don't bother me, but I can see how a group of 6 or 7 boys might bother someone else.
I feel like a snitch, but I really don't know what the alternative would have been. Gently reminding them to pick up their butts because my daughter wants to pick them up just incited an argument about who's butts they were, so that didn't work. And talking to the mother didn't seem like any revelation, as she'll most likely have to deal with this again, just in another spot.
I'm thinking of posting the city by-laws about loitering, littering, and smoking in public and posting it to the fence in the path. Would a group of teenage boys care about by-laws? Would it make a difference?
What if they come back? What if the mess doesn't improve? Do I call by-law enforcement? The police?
I know a couple of our other neighbors (in our complex) are not thrilled with them hanging out back there and smoking, but tonight, at 6:30 in the evening when there are kids outside playing, I was really upset to go for a walk and bump into 6 kids smoking a joint right next to the park.
What should I do next time? A part of me wants to tell these kids to put their f-ing smokes out and to get away from the park because it's disgusting and really unhealthy to be blowing their smoke onto a PLAYGROUND, and another part of me says to just ignore it and either deal with their mother or just call the police.
What do I do?