Saturday, November 11, 2006

Murder and Property Maintenance

This evening I attended the prayer vigil that Ben Holder organized for murder victim Lavelle Williams and her children, two of whom were wounded in the attack.

Ben believes that poor property maintenance contributed to the murder. He told me that a third of the Madison Park Apartments are unoccupied and unsecured. I can't verify that, but he did show me the apartment next to the murder scene, which was lacking any kind of deadbolt to keep vagrants out -- there was just a hole in the door where a deadbolt should be.

If the alleged murderer got access to the victims, as Ben believes, by squatting in a nearby unsecured apartment where he could observe the family, at the same time staying under the law-enforcement radar (since the accused suspect is a convicted sex offender), then I think the property management firm is probably criminally negligent.

The whole situation reminds me of a conversation (more like a confrontation, really) that I had with a representative of TREBIC when the city was considering adopting an ordinance to require rental properties to be inspected on a regular basis. TREBIC opposed the ordinance.

When I said that good property maintenance was important in neighborhoods that are plagued by crime, and help to prevent it, the TREBIC representative said "that's just an aesthetic issue."

Well, no, it isn't. A mother of three is dead and two of her daughters were wounded, and it looks like responsible property management might have prevented it.

Ben is going after this case like a bulldog. I wouldn't want to be the owners of the Madison Park Apartments right now.

But they at least are better off than Lavelle Williams and her family.


Glenwood said...

Nice work.

David Wharton said...

Thanks for letting us know about it.

Rev. Holler's prayer was a beautiful expression of grief, love, and hope.