The high price of being a victim

Boston, like most major cities, has a bit of a grafitti problem. It’s an eyesore, for one, and it tends to lead to other forms of unpleasantness. So the city has a plan to get rid of it: if the owner of the vandalized property doesn’t get it cleaned up, they’ll fine them.

They aren’t completely heartless, though. Once the vandalized property has drawn official notice, the owner has 30 days where they can ask the city to come and clean it up, free of charge. After that window closes, they have another 30 days to do it themselves. After that, the city can fine them — $100 for the first offense, $200 for subsequent offenses.

The notion of increasing the penalties for committing the vandalism, or starting a crackdown on the vandals, seems to have escaped their notice. Instead, they simply choose to shift the burden to the victims of the crime, who have to spend either time or money to curb the problem.

It’s pretty much in the spirit of the city. In Boston, property owners are responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in front of their properties, too. If you’re walking in downtown Boston and slip on the ice, be sure to do it in front of a swanky establishment — you can get a lot more money from a jeweler, for example, than a pizza place.

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