Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Stigma of "Crime Scene" Homes

What do you do with BIG crime scene properties such as those of Charlie Manson, Heaven's Gate, Jeffrey Dahmer,etc.?  It is interesting some of the tactics used to "heal" that stigma.

In the case of the 112 Ocean Avenue, Amithyville NY - the actual address of the home has been changed as a result of the address becoming notorious.  Randall Bell, a real estate economist, suggests that changing the address of a home that has been a scene of a horrific crime is a good idea however, you must be selective in your timing.  Mr. Bell suggests that if you change the address too soon the media wil pick up on it and cause even more of a stir.  The addresses that were the scene of the Nicole Brown/Ron Goldman murders, the LaBianca home that was the scene of Charlie Manson's massacre and the JonBenet Ramsey home which was the scene of her tragic murder have also been changed.  Eventually, the LaBiana homes was torn down. 
LaBianca murder houseOther measures that have been taken are to completely tear the home down.  The despicable crimes of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer longered on in the homes in which they lived.  Ultimately, the locations were demolished.  While the memories of those horrific crimes with live on with the relatives, friends and, quite frankly, the entire world their physical locations have been banished from the face of the earth.  Another point the article makes is that there are people that lobby to presreve these types of buildings.  For instance, one lobbyist puts forth the arguement that the Texas Book Depository, which was the scene of the nation altering assasination of President Jon F. Kennedy, should never be torn down.  Personally, while a terrible moment in history, I can not liken it to the acts of monsters such as John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Another interesting avenue that is often the case with these stigmatized properties is that the fact is NOT hidden, the home is NOT torn down but repurposed.  It would seem that businesses that are scenes of crime can actually overcome the stigma.  The article does not suggest that the businesses profit but merely states that the businesses try and downplay the events that have happened.  Take for instance the scene where Gianni Versace was gunned down.  The location is a 1930's building was purchased in 2000 and turned into a member's only club and botique hotel.  Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan continues to operate even though it was the scene for a mob-hit in 1985.

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