THE COST OF CRIME

I worked my way through college by working at The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.  I loved my job.  I would interview defendants to determine if community service was a more appropriate punishment than incarceration.  If I was convinced that the defendant could be trusted, I would send him or her to a church, nursing home, community park, synagogue or other community site to perform their required hours.  If they screwed up and didn’t go, I would go to their homes and pay them a visit and remind them that if they don’t go back and complete their hours ASAP I will re-open their case and ask for jail time.  This was during the height of the crack crisis in New York and let’s just say after a few years of banging on doors in Brooklyn’s worst neighborhoods, I’m lucky to be writing this column.

Sometimes I would look at a criminal’s rap sheet and it seemed to go on forever.  Ten, twenty, thirty arrests over a lifetime.  I always thought, how is this possible?  After a few times of committing a violent crime, a person forfeits the right to be among the community.  Don’t they? That’s it.  Put him or her away and throw away the key for the benefit of everyone else and before someone else gets shot, mugged, beaten raped etc…

That old fashioned way of thinking is gone.  Today, criminal defendants walk out of jail without even having to post bail.  The liberal media wants you to think that incarceration is somehow evil.  It’s not.  It’s protection for the rest of us that don’t commit crime after crime and enjoy walking our neighborhoods without fear of a violent encounter. Today, we turn on the TV and there is multiple shooting after multiple shooting, day after day after day.  Do you believe that the people doing the shooting and the home invasions and the robberies don’t have a criminal record?  You can rest assured they do and if you saw their record, you would be appalled that they were still on the street and were given the opportunity to commit more violence.

So, where does this leave our community associations?  I am seeing associations for the first time being unable to obtain insurance coverage should a crime occur in the community and the association gets sued for failing to provide adequate security.  This is scary, as negligent security cases can result in verdicts of seven figures.  Imagine having to pass a special assessment to pay this verdict.  Because crime is now literally everywhere, the negligent security cases against associations will no doubt continue to rise.  To be clear, if an association knows or should have known about violent crime, not just within the association, but within the neighboring community, the association must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the residents.  If you fail to do so, and someone gets attacked, no doubt your community gets sued alleging Negligent Security.  Rest assured that after one claim, it will be more difficult to obtain coverage and the residents will have to pray another crime doesn’t happen on the premises.

It scares me when I see activists claiming that jail is inhumane, racist or otherwise cruel.  I could not care less what color someone is.  If they are violent and a threat to my community, I want them locked up and off the streets.  This failure to protect our communities from violent offenders is now coming home to roost and are placing our community associations in absolute peril.  Tip for the day…..call your insurance agent and make sure your community is insured should a crime happen and the association gets sued for Negligent Security

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