Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Crimes of Poverty

Over the decades I spent in the taxi business in my city, I was the target of ‘crimes of poverty’ many, many times. This usually came in the form of fare fraud when a customer would ride in my taxi knowing they lacked the means to pay for the ride.

Early on in my "career," I tried calling the police on these practitioners of ‘crimes of poverty’ but soon learned that was an almost complete waste of time. The police would take forever to respond and, usually, the responding officer would say to me, "well, what do you want me to do about it?" About thirty years ago one cop told me he could give me the perp's name and address for a $3.50 theft and I could pursue satisfaction in small claims court. Even then I wasn't that dumb.

It was a valid point. You can't get blood out of stones. The only recourse, therefore, is to avoid the stones in the first place even if it means racial profiling. Over the last twenty years or so in the biz I never called the cops at all. I would just accept the loss and get back to "work."

Once I became experienced enough at sniffing out the rip artists, I was successful at reducing the frequency of these "crimes of poverty" to about 10% of what they were before I learned a few tricks of the trade. (Similarly, I was able to reduce the frequency of vomit incidents too.)

There was no other choice.

U.S. City May Pass “Duress Legislation” to Give Criminals “Poverty Defense”

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