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“Problem Properties”– Student helps address violent crime

(Boston Revised 09/01/11) New England Law | Boston: Criminal activity doesn’t occur in a vacuum; there are circumstances, and at times specific settings, that make law-breaking more likely. Irresponsible owners can burden communities and even promote violence by choosing to ignore criminal activities on their properties.

Patience Babajide '13 Patience Babajide ’13
Patience Babajide ’13 worked as a legal intern with the Boston City Council this summer on legislation that zeros in on locations where illegal activities are regular occurrences. She conducted research and analysis, worked directly with councilors, and helped draft a new Ordinance Regarding Penalties for Chronic Problem Properties, which was approved on July 13.
“The issue of problem properties has received significant attention, given the rise in criminal activity and the high mortality rates in recent years as a result of gun violence,” explains Babajide. “Properties where illegal activities routinely take place as a result of the owner’s disregard require considerable amounts of police attention and surveillance, and the numerous calls for service have a financial cost. This ordinance imposes penalties on owners unless they take steps to end the activities.”
Attending an open city council hearing convinced Babajide that the general public “cares immensely” about this issue. “Problem properties do not stand alone – a rotten apple spoils the barrel. Residents want to and should feel safe where they live; they should not be driven out of their neighborhoods by property owners who create an unsafe environment.”
Her efforts were recognized at a council meeting by Councilor Maureen Feeney, whom Babajide worked with on the legislation. Feeney asked the law student to stand and led a round of applause. (A video of the problem properties council meeting is available.)
Over the course of the summer, Babajide has had the opportunity to work directly with most of the 13 councilors on a variety of other projects, including a proposal to change the minimum drop-out age for school-age children; drafting a hearing order regarding concurrent (city and state) police jurisdiction; and an analysis of laws concerning the redistricting of Massachusetts cities and towns, among others.
Babajide, a native of Nigeria, is a member of the Black Law Students Association, the Charles Hamilton Houston Enrichment Program, and the International Law Society. A government career was already in her mind when she began her law studies, and the Career Services Office provided the connection to this summer’s internship, which has further defined her goals.
“Following through with my decision to attend law school has absolutely been a move in the right direction,” she says. “I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way as a result, and I look forward to experiencing all that the future has in store.”

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