Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2005
Source: Hope Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Hope Standard
Author: Mike Stuart
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Creative Policing Labels Landlords As The Perfect Patsy

Re: Last week's article: 'New rules keep landlords accountable'.

In last week's article, Mayor Poole expresses his regret that the meeting 
at which the new property bylaws were announced, was poorly attended by the 

"I'm disappointed but at the same time I think that most people already 
knew what it was all about and were pretty much behind it," says Gordon Poole,'

Well I can only speak for myself, and my own reason for not attending was 
hardly that I am 'behind it'.

It was evident from the outset that this meeting was not for the purpose of 
permitting the public a democratic input into the process but was rather an 
announcement of what was already being put into place - bylaws that shift 
the responsibility of policing duties from police and onto the shoulders of 
property owners.

There have been marijuana growing operations and drug manufacturing 
operations going on in houses for a long time. More recently the number of 
such operations has increased to the point that communities are becoming 
frustrated at the cost incurred when these operations must be 'cleaned up'. 
The police forces are equally frustrated at the problem of detecting and 
busting these activities. Now it seems that the police and the 
municipalities have gotten into bed together and decided to find someone 
else to hold accountable, as these criminals are hard to catch, it's been 
decided that the titular owner of the property must be to blame. It is 
after all, much easier to find him - he's at the other end of the property 
tax bill. But there is something seriously wrong with this new logic.

Any criminal of even marginal intelligence knows that you don't use your 
own car for a getaway vehicle. You use somebody else's car. In this way you 
can't be traced or caught unless caught in the act. Same goes for a grow op 
or lab. You don't do it in your own house, you rent a house. In this way, 
if it is discovered, you are not caught unless you are in the house at the 
time. The fellow whose car is used for a getaway car is a victim, just as 
the owner of a home which has been converted to a grow op is a victim. The 
car owner is not held responsible for the robbery, nor billed for costs 
incurred by the robbery, but under this new trend of creative policing, in 
some convolution of logic, the homeowner is to be held responsible for the 
costs of the crime committed on his property unless he has been diligently 
policing it!

He's the perfect patsy, because municipalities have long known that you can 
bill the landowner, and if the bill isn't promptly paid then in come 
magical way it becomes 'taxes in arrears' even though it is not a such 
thing. And if taxes in arrears are not paid, the Community Charter empowers 
the administration to seize the property and sell it. A great gig 
depending, of course, which side of it you are on.

This bylaw uses the same flawed logic as did photo radar, which charged the 
owner of a vehicle for speeding regardless of who was actually driving it - 
rather than identify and blame the perpetrator, it blames the owner.

A property owner who has had renters build a grow-op in his house is faced 
with bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused 
by this act. On top of this personal disaster the community and the police 
want to dump all of their costs on the property-owning victim as well?

It isn't just and it isn't fair to download policing duties and the cost of 
crime on a property owner who is already victimized, but is sure is handy, 
isn't it?

This bylaw should go the same way as the photo radar it emulates. To the 
scrap heap of bad ideas.

Mike Stuart

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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman