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AUGUST 19 - AUGUST 27, 2014

New Signs Warn Visitors to Not be Stupid, You Morons!

By Mike Hudson

August 19, 2014

As recently as this spring, the Niagara Falls Reporter had it pretty well figured out.

As a response to the insane number of auto burglaries that continue to plague the downtown parking lots here, this newspaper recommended that signs be posted warning tourists not to leave valuables in their cars, to lock their doors and take every necessary precaution.

Finally, the Dyster administration got around to doing the right thing.

The signs, in French, German, English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian, warn visitors to "Please remember to remove all valuables from vehicle."

Beneath this rides a disclaimer. "The City of Niagara Falls is not responsible for lost or stolen items".

The disclaimer of course is legalese, hopefully absolving responsibility to anyone, say, so stupid to park in a paid city lot and thinking their vehicle secure.

New signs tell an old story

Clearly, the presence in Niagara Falls of individuals such as Fabian Carter, who has been arrested 140 times in the past 24 years, for the most part for breaking into automobiles, has left the Dyster administration with a challenge: to warn or not warn tourists who come to visit this city.

It would be almost funny but it isn't - not to the scores of people Carter victimized over the years, not to the police officers, judges, probation department personnel and jail guards who have to deal with the aftermath of his lunacy and not to the taxpayer who is left to pick up the tab.

And, while the sheer number of his arrests make him somewhat unusual, Niagara Falls is filled with guys like Carter - guys for whom an unlocked car door is like an engraved invitation and who think that violence is an acceptable problem solving strategy.

Taken together, they constitute a lawless element that contributes mightily to the misery index of those trying to make an honest living in Niagara Falls, that dwindling population for whom rap sheets and welfare checks aren't a part of everyday reality.

So maybe it's a bad thing that we have to tell our visitors that they should expect to be robbed? Or is it simply a courtesy, like one might show when warning a guest at the house that one of the dogs might bite?

Of course it's a conundrum. Like so many things here.





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Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina