(Joanne Rathe /Globe Staff)
Sections of Allston-Brighton and Dorchester received the most tickets for snow removal violations, according to numbers obtained from the city's Inspectional Services Department.
Between Dec. 10 and Jan. 4, 266 tickets were issued citywide. Ward 22, which makes up the northern half of Allston-Brighton, topped the list with 40 violations. Dorchester's Ward 15, which includes Fields Corner and Meeting House Hill, had 27 violations.
By contrast, Ward 8, which covers part of the South End and a sliver of Roxbury, had only one violation. The average for most neighborhoods was around a dozen.
Michael Mackan, chief of Boston's Code Enforcement Police, says that the numbers don't necessarily reflect where the most violations took place, but where the department's 16 officers were directed to go due to complaints.
"After the storm hits, code enforcement instead of being proactive becomes reactive to all the complaints coming in. So we can't really walk a neighborhood looking from street to street, we're running from complaint to complaint," he said. "I would say about 90 percent of these tickets would be the result of people calling in."
Mackan estimates more than 600 complaints were filed with the mayor's hotline, but says not all of them resulted in tickets, because sometimes people had already begun shoveling when officers arrived.
"It's quite a task. There are 700 streets in Dorchester alone, which means there's probably 1,400 sidewalks," Mackan said. Enforcement officers also handle trash, parking, vending, and illegal occupancy violations.
In July of 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court passed a decision to hold property owners liable for injuries due to snow or ice, reversing a 1883 decision that excused property owners for "natural accumulation" after shoveling. In December 2009, the city issued only 20 tickets, but Mackan has said that the uptick has more to do with the level of snowfall than the court ruling, which could potentially hold the city responsible for injuries that occur on sidewalks.
In Boston, owners of commercial property or residential buildings with more than six units have three hours after the snowfall ends to remove accumulated snow and ice, or they face up to $150 in fines per day. Owners of residential buildings with fewer than six residents have six hours before they face a $50-$100 fine.
E-mail Cara Bayles at firstname.lastname@example.org.