A scan of regional crime news in the past two weeks would include several incidents that relate to murder, arson, drugs, and other serious crimes that took place in a mobile or manufactured home. Those incidents often took place in a land-lease community.
It’s an issue for the industry, because there is a false narrative that “Murder, Mobiles & Mayhem” all go hand in hand. Some reasons why the ‘crime and trailer trash’ narrative is false will be outlined and linked further below.
Murder, Arson, Domestic Violence & More
Among those crime stories are the real-life legal drama that’s unfolded in the wake of a homicide-arson case in 2017.
The alleged murder victim was killed with a knife, not a firearm.
A male suspect named Christian Pacheco, 23, of Indio, is accused of killing his girlfriend, possibly after a domestic dispute. Pacheco is accused in the death of 30-year-old Elilia Valdez, a mother of two whose body was found on March 18, 2017 “about six hours after sheriff’s deputies found her mobile home ablaze,” said the Press Enterprise.
Pacheco is being held in a mental health facility, and has not yet been determined to be fit to stand trial.
According to the criminal complaint, a knife was used in Valdez’s murder. No one was inside the home, but “information obtained from witnesses indicated that a domestic violence incident may have occurred between an adult female resident and her boyfriend before the home was set on fire,” said Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Huskey.
“Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling ruled that testimony from two doctors who examined Pacheco showed that he likely suffered from schizophrenia, though Sterling did have issues with the fact that neither doctor definitively diagnosed Pacheco with the disorder,” per local media.
It will be at least May before the accused may be found ready to stand trial.
Crime, Operations, Image and Mobile/Manufactured Housing
As previously noted, the incident is one of several recently reported across the country, covering a range of locales from more urban to rural areas.
But the number of crime reports found in apartments or conventional housing are far more numerous. Some industry professionals note that it’s wrong to mention the kind of housing a crime took place at all, as if the house was somehow responsible.
As a manufactured home community operator told the Daily Business News that regardless of guilt or innocence, the sensational cases that brought O.J. Simpson to trial or that landed Charles Manson in prison are proof that crimes take place in even upscale, wealthy neighborhoods.
As MHLivingNews reported a couple of years ago, crime is no more common in a mobile or manufactured home than it is in any other kind of housing.
Who says? University of Illinois at Chicago, criminology researcher – William McCarty, Ph.D..
Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
“Some had lower rates of crime than you would expect, because they had pride of ownership and the shared backgrounds of residents.” – Researcher William P. McCarty Homeowners love them. Affordable housing advocates laud them. Municipal planners approve them.
Crime, Manufactured Home Operations and Perceptions
As many industry professionals know, the shifting sands of regulations and the law has made it more challenging for industry professionals to do meaningful background checks to screen out those with a criminal history. What was once common in manufactured home communities – or in apartments, rental and ‘multifamily housing’ – is now often limited or prohibited.
This pattern of media reporting crime in connection with housing type ought to compel industry professionals to take the obvious step of debunking false or misleading story lines.
While no one should suggest that the Clinton administration caused the industry’s image to sink, because it is a variety of causes that lead to that, the statement by Clinton adviser James Carville certainly didn’t help the industry. The evidence is that decades later, that prejudiced Carville line is still sadly being used.
What is, is, and that includes any criminal, weather or other tragic incident. But the industry’s professionals must own the messaging in their own market(s), in order to avoid a possible drop in sales that can follow ‘bad news’ in local, regional or national media reports.
The alternative is for millions of Americans to continue to believe that pre-HUD code mobile homes and post-code manufactured homes are “tornado magnets” which somehow magically attracts “murder, mayhem and miscreants.” If the studies and reports linked below are accurate, the various causes of false information that keeps millions from considering manufactured housing as a key part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis is costing the national economy – and thus all Americans – nearly 2 trillion dollars annually. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
There are several ways to learn about various types of affordable housing options. Affordable housing is huge and growing topic in the U.S., Canada, and in nations around the world. So MHLN decided to hold an affordable housing focus group. The focus group in this video are made up primarily of retirees.
(Third party images, and cites are provided under fair use guidelines.)
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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.