As someone who lived in New York City for about 32 years, I can tell you that Stamford has to start getting serious about crime.
By that, I don’t mean “serious” as in “tough.” I mean “serious” as in the opposite of “humorous.”
A quick scan of the local police blotter reveals some troubling trends that the community should address immediately…so as not to embarrass itself when it is held up against other police blotters around the country.
For instance, there were a couple of recent arrests for “second degree breach of peace.” Now, I know that, for murder, first degree means it was pre-meditated and other degrees mean it wasn’t, so, by applying that rule, I’m guessing these guys weren’t sitting around one day saying “Hey, I’m bored watching Jersey Shore. Let’s go breach some peace.” But it wouldn’t be that easy anyway because, according to Wikipedia, apparently you can only go on a peace-breaching spree while in the act of repossessing things. This dovetails nicely with the fact that one of the peace breachers was also charged with Third Degree Criminal Mischief, which involves property damage. I would hope, however, that the property he damaged wasn’t also the property he was repossessing, as I imagine that would make his employer unhappy.
Moving on to another local crime wave, there has recently been a slew of people failing to appear in court. That, in itself, is probably not unusual. What I find strange is that they were charged with Second Degree Failure to Appear in Court. What the heck is that? Either you’re there or you’re not. I mean, what could the degrees of failing to appear be? “Yes I meant to not show up” versus “Duh, I forgot?” Or maybe one degree means you weren’t there and another degree means you were there but you were invisible, so you didn’t appear.
And, can I ask, what the hell is Sixth Degree Larceny? Is that like six degrees of separation, where someone you know knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who stole something?
Well, it turns out that, in Connecticut, Degrees of Larceny are awarded on a sliding scale starting at over $10,000 and going down to taking from the “Give a penny, take a penny” cup when you really don’t need a penny.
That’s actually true, sort of, since the lowest level of larceny is $250 or less.
I question the wisdom of this system of larceny distribution. I mean, doesn’t it incentivize the guy who’s about to steal $10,000 to take even more? Why not? He’s already at First Degree Larceny. He can’t get any higher if he takes another few thousand. Or another few hundred thousand.
And the big jump on the larceny scale is between third degree and fourth degree, because third is a felony (punishable by up to five years) and fourth is a misdemeanor (up to one year). So think of the poor shoplifter in the store, trying to add up the value of the items in her pockets. “Oh, gee, I’m over $1,000. I better put something back. Excuse me, clerk, do you know if the larceny degrees include sales tax?”
Finally, let me say that, although Southern Connecticut might not have a lot of major criminal activity (thank goodness), it does have celebrity crime. Back in July, Meryl Streep’s nephew was charged in Norwalk for violating probation. According to police, he was also driving under the influence, and in possession of marijuana, narcotics and a weapon, but, hey, they got him on the probation violation. A year earlier, according to The Stamford Advocate, he had “plea-bargained out of a mandatory jail sentence for pointing a shotgun and beating his roommate.”
This raises two questions:
1. Am I mistaken about the meaning of the word “mandatory?”
2. How come he wasn’t charged with Third Degree Meryl Streep Relativity?
See you soon.