Beware thy neighbor | AspenTimes.com

Beware thy neighbor

Dear Editor:The article on page 3 of the Aspen Daily News on June 20 is just another example of employee housing abuse. This particular person has been in jail more times than I can count and once again is arrested at his Aspen employee housing unit. Employee housing should be reserved and viewed as one of the highest privileges available to the working, taxpaying, law-abiding citizens of this community. But it is not.I am continually amazed that we still do not do criminal background checks on all of our city-subsidized units. This should be top priority in this small town; we are all living literally within blocks of each other. I think Aspen has been extremely lucky thus far. This particular incident is not just one random case. We are seeing more and more crime-related incidents making the headlines in our newspapers almost on a weekly basis. I would be curious to know how many people in our jail, on any given day, live in Aspen employee housing?! Being that Aspen is a small town, I have known people, unfortunately, who have been incarcerated for months at a time throughout the state for theft, drugs, multiple drunk driving convictions, etc., who have been able to keep their Aspen employee housing while they were serving time in jail elsewhere (because our jail was too full). This is ridiculous! I feel the housing department needs to make changes to their current employee housing requirements and start working with the courthouse and police department. I feel anyone convicted of theft, burglary, arson, drug dealing, etc. – including two DUIs within a certain amount of time – should be forced to find other housing within 60 days. No exceptions. The housing department should be updated on a monthly basis of those offenders and follow through. People that have been convicted of these type of crimes within at least a five-year period of time (if it were up to me I would say 20 years) should be barred from applying for employee housing. Right now the only requirements for applying for employee housing these days is that the person live in the valley four years and make barely enough money to survive. But no one seems to care if the person is a rapist, convicted drug dealer, child molester, burglar or anything else. I am for employee housing, but don’t understand why the housing department/city is so scared to step on the toes of those that rob, cheat and steal from this community! Kristi GilliamAspen