Crime in Your Community Association?
Have You Ever Been the Victim of a Crime in Your Community Association?
Over the weekend, I finally watched a movie called The Bling Ring. It is based on a true story of a group of fame-obsessed LA teens who robbed the houses of various celebrities.
While it was not shocking that these teens might have been disaffected, lacked parental oversight and behaved badly, what was unbelievable was that one celebrity after another had left a door open to the house, had not turned on their security alarm system and had wads of jewelry and money either under their beds or in unlocked safes.
In true Hollywood fashion, the bad guys were eventually caught although their actual time served was a little light-handed. Watching the teens in the movie scale walls and fences and open expensive, unlocked cars parked in neighborhoods brought up memories of the one time I was the victim of crime inside my community association.
I live in a community which has both a wall and a manned guard gate as well as video cameras at our entrance. Still, we have not been without security incidences over the years, but most of those were related to owner error as I am about to relate.
Given the difficulty one has in entering a community like mine, it may be that residents get a little looser with their own security measures. Cars may be left unlocked, garage doors stay open during the day or at night, a door or window remains unlocked and alarms are not routinely activated when an owner is “just running out for a minute.”
A few years back, a number of cars in our neighborhood, including mine, had items removed from them one night. All of those cars were left unlocked, including mine. I had no one to blame but myself when I realized all of my CDs were gone. Our board did everything right by getting the word out that the incident had occurred and reminding residents to lock their cars as well as their homes. Of course, one always assumes that these incidences are caused by other people and not the folks living in our own community, but the reality is that crime occurs inside our ranks as well as outside them.
Have you ever been a victim of crime in your community association? If so, did your own error contribute to your loss as mine did? Were you lulled into a false sense of security that walls, gates, guards and cameras provide at times?
There is a happy ending to my own story. A few days after the incident, I noticed my CD case tucked into a bush in one of our common parks while I was out walking my dog. Apparently, the thieves were not so keen on my musical taste so they threw away the spoils. I had my Chicago and Journey CDs back where they rightfully belonged!
Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is one of the Founding Partners of the statewide law firm, Katzman Garfinkel & Berger (KG&B), a firm that devotes its practice to the representation of community associations. Ms. Berger can be reached directly at 954-315-0372 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.