October 11, 2002

Letters to the Editor
Star Tribune
425 Portland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55488

Dear Editor:

“Blame buildings for crime” was the theme of your recent editorial, reminiscent of attitudes prevalent in Minneapolis five or ten years ago but thankfully not today.

Do criminals congregate at certain buildings? Where, then, are the police? Why are not the criminals arrested for the crimes they commit? Is inadequate prosecution and punishment a factor in the failure to provide an effective community deterrent to crime? Cannot crime-fighting solutions start there?

Certainly the owners of buildings need to be brought into a discussion and solution of crime problems, but this needs to be done in a cooperative way. For one thing, the burden of identifying individual criminals should fall upon the city police - and the police need to communicate pertinent information to property owners.

We ought not to expect landlords to be amateur cops. Neither should systematic abuse of process take place in city government as building maintenance codes are diverted from their lawful purpose to fight crime.

Your out-of-touch editorial envisions the old confrontational approach, “stiffer fines and property seizures”, as a solution to inner-city crime, and pictures Andy Dawkins, a lawyer whose own properties were recently found to be blighted, as an ideal warrior to clean up neighborhoods with his lawyerly attack-mode approach.

What neighborhood or world does your editorial writer live in?


William McGaughey

Minneapolis Property Rights
Action Committee

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