Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Public information as a resource

If you have a home computer and Internet access, there are some tools that you can use to know what is going on in your block.
If you want to know who owns a property or if taxes on a property are delinquent you can check this at the Montgomery County Treasurers site http://www.mctreas.org. If taxes are at least two years in arrears any person who deposits $1000 with the county can initiate a sheriff sale. This money is applied to the sale price if that person buys the property at auction or is refunded if another bidder purchases the property.
If a property owner is a business or fictitious name, then you can check the Secretary of States web site to find the articles of incorporation filed with the State of Ohio. This will list the name and address of a contact person and often the name of the company president. You can locate that information here http://serform.sos.state.oh.us.
If you are interested in finding out if there any mortgage liens exist you can check that out at the County Recorders web site http://www.mcrecorder.org where releases and deed information is also available.

This next site is most effective though (http://www.clerk.co.montgomery.oh.us/legal/records.cfm) because it will allow you to access civil and criminal record information on file with the county and the City of Dayton. This information can indicate whether a property owner has a history of housing or zoning code violations or whether they frequently have to evict tenants. It will also indicate if someone you suspect of being involved with the sale of drugs has a criminal record that would substantiate your suspicions. It also informs you if a person has an outstanding warrant for their arrest.

The Dayton Municipal Court site (http://www.daytonmunicipalcourt.org)
allows you to view the housing and general docket information telling you which cases are to appear before the judge on a given day.

If anyone is interested in expanding their block watch into a court watch or want some tools to assist with probable drug activity then these web sites may prove useful. The fact that I am disclosing this means that most residents in Walnut Hills now know that they have free access to this information. This also means that we have just become a safer neighborhood. The chronic criminal element and drug dealers don't want you to know who they are and what they are doing and now you have a window into their past.

NOTE. If your property values were assessed by the county and increased more than you feel is fair, you can use the treasurers web site to check the values of all the properties on your street to see if there are any discrepancies. This site lists recent sales history as well as tax information.

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