Dana Ferguson tracks down an excellent example of how the crime victims’ bill of rights, the astroturf vanity amendment that California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas spent a small fortune convincing South Dakotans to enact last November, is doing fouling up South Dakota law and business. Specifically, landlords are having a harder time keeping their tenants safe from criminal renters:
The effort to shield victims’ privacy has barred some landlords from accessing details necessary to determine whether tenants have violated a key provision of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Agreement.
“That lack of information is what causes the real headache,” said Ashley Lipp, a regional manager for Lloyd Cos. “Now we have to ask, ‘Is this something that could be a violation of our Crime Free addendum?’ And it’s very difficult to know.”
Details about the location of a police dispatch, including specific address and in some cases apartment number, were provided in call logs ahead of the passage of Marsy’s Law. Landlords could track police calls to their apartment buildings and follow up with tenants about the interactions as needed.
But that changed in November. The specific address of a call was swapped for a block address or nearby intersection where victims opt for their personal details to be concealed.
That has led to additional work for some landlords in determining whether the concerns that prompted the calls came from their tenants or neighbors on the block.
“You can’t keep track of anything. You used to be able to go online and look up an address,” said Larry Schut, landlord and co-owner of Triangle Properties. “You can’t do that anymore, so that kind of makes it tough” [link added; Dana Ferguson, “Landlords: Victims’ Rights Law Hinders Efforts to Keep Apartments Crime-Free,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.07.07].
Gee, I guess it’s a good thing Henry T. Nicholas cooked up the crime victims bill of rights, because passing his amendment may be increasing the risk of becoming a crime victim.
Smaller landlords tell Ferguson they can still get info about criminal activity on their properties from neighbors, but that doesn’t negate the difficulty managers of larger properties are having.
So what help or advice does Henry T. Nicholas offer to deal with the practical consequences of his law?
A spokeswoman for the national Marsy’s Law campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment [Ferguson, 2017.07.07].
Plenty of time and money to meddle with state’s laws, but poof! Henry T. Nicholas disappears once he gets all he wants and leaves South Dakota landlords and tenants holding the bag.