Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana on Monday just as expected. Government officials state that they had learned many lessons as a result of the poor response and preparation three years earlier when Katrina hit the gulf coast. This time crime was going to be handled more severely and immediately. Mayor Ray Nagin stated, “looters will go directly to jail. You will not have a free pass pass this time.
I am sure that everyone remembers watching the TV after Katrina when the news cameras caught footage of people looting stores, homes and even vehicles left on the street. Memories of the Los Angeles riots were rekindled in peoples minds as we watch as city residents broke windows and took items that did not belong to them
These property crimes are now taken much more seriously then they previously were a few years ago. If this had occurred in California, most of these people could only be charged with second degree burglary. Second degree burglary is punishable by jail or prison. It is all the kinds of burglary, as defined under the California Penal Code Section 459, other then the breaking into another person;s home. Most people understood that when a city is blocked off from entry and exit, the citizens have no choice but to survive by taking food, clothing, and shelter to provide for themselves and their families. But what I think the mayor was talking about was when people use the hurricane or other disasters to take property such as stereos, jewelry and televisions.
Many people remember the views from their televisions during the Los Angeles Riots after the verdicts in the aquital of the police officers who beat Rodney King. People were seen going into electronic and jewelry stores taking whatever they wanted while the police stood by doing nothing.