More people are cleaning up their messy yards

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A messy yard can be a black eye on a neighborhood. Bringing down property values and spreading blight in the city. KIMA checked Yakima's code complaint system and found it seems to be working.

Take a drive in Yakima and you might see trash piled up in yards. Things like tables, cans and baskets were out.

Clemice Brown said she sees them so often she doesn't even notice anymore.

"It's not safe for the kids if kids go there and go in there and try to play. I don't think it's a safe place for them."

Those piles of trash seem to pile on the frustration. Sherry Arballo takes care of her yard and doesn't understand why some of her neighbors don't.

"It just makes it look like what I was referred to as this is the ghetto," said Sherry.

Yakima doesn't police this problem by itself. Code enforcers only respond to your complaints. KIMA dug deeper to see how well this system is working. Over the last two years, the number of complaints increased only slightly. But, the follow up by code enforcement with warning letters increased sharply by 300. It seems violators are paying attention to them. In fact, the number of people who ignored their warnings and needed a hearing dropped to about two dozen last year. Clemice doesn't know why it has to go that far.

"It's a lot of people that keep their yards up and stuff like that and then they come along and they see a yard that's messy and it adds a bad reflection in the neighborhood," said Clemice.

Those bad reflections were being handled as long as neighbors looked out for each other.

If you end up sent to a hearing, you can be fined. Those can range from $200 to $5,000. Yakima's codes manager said most of these messy yards are found on 16th Avenue to the Yakima River.