I just called my apartment complex to ensure that they run criminal background checks on all of their employees. I read a case about a year ago that prompted me to make the inquiry then, but ownership of my complex has changed since then and a recent murder has made me paranoid. The case I read involved an apartment complex in metro Atlanta that did not require criminal background checks as a condition of employment, and a convicted felon was hired to work in the apartment's maintenance department. He hid in a resident's apartment, and you can imagine what happened.
The most recent murder that I've heard about invovled a member of the church I occasionally attend in Atlanta. Besides the murder in itself being terribly disturbing (and one of the reasons I can't bear to watch the local evening news) and sad, the murder suspect has a criminal history that spans four states and over 25 years. His most recent conviction was for rape and occurred in 1991, and he was released on probation after serving right under ten years. It blows my mind that you could serve less than 20 or 30 years for raping someone especially when four years before that you were found guilty of breaking and entering and a decade before that you were convicted of kidnapping and robbery. I'm sure that if this man is, in fact, found guilty of this murder, this knowledge will only grieve this woman's family even more.
And what thankless tasks our police and district attorneys are faced with when after they work hard to find these criminals and prove the government's case (which can be incredibly hard in rape cases), the convicted criminals are released to harm our society even more after serving minimal sentences. I wonder what it'll take for our states to get serious about punishing those who take away others' right to safety and to be free from violence and the anxiety that we (especially women) experience, knowing the odds of us being a victim of a crime. Just a thought, but I wonder if more women being in the legislature would result in a more serious approach to these kinds of crimes. I'm not sure men can understand what it's like to have to constantly worry about who is in the elevator/stairwell/parking deck, whether you should skip your workout because it's dark, whether you should leave the office because it's late and may not be safe, and the like.