Friday, April 9, 2010
The police respond: burglary is not decriminalized! And: correction: they never said: "We're too busy"!
Well, I got a surprise after posting my last blog when I reported the travails of a lawyer-friend whose offices in Mt. Washington were visited by some of our local burglars on one of their night-time missions. Ya'll can read the posting just before this one, but the key point is that my friend's keys to his storage unit and the code were stolen during the burglary.
He quickly called and had the code changed after discovering this the next morning.
But the dirt bags came there and tried to get into the parking lot of the storage facility using the wrong code: security cameras captured his car tag number, the tattoo on his arm, and his face. He and some buddies also came back a different day when that storage place was having an auction. They are also on camera then. They wandered around the yard looking at stuff and eyed and tried the doors, but did not get into the building.
My friend gave all this information to the police. I recalled that he said they went back and forth about who was going to got out to get the tape, etc., INDICATING IN CONTEXT THAT THEY WERE REALLY BUSY.
So, I got an email from someone in the Deputy Commissioner for Operations office. The "Deputy" as the person who holds that position is known, is in charge of day to day operations in the police department. His radio call sign is "Unit 2"--thus he is directly under the Police Commissioner (our Mencken-like, straight-talkin', ice hockey playin' top cop).
This official quoted my humble blog posting and said that he/they wanted to follow up on this case and endeavor to give the victim some resolution and perhaps a more favorable impression of the BPD.
So, I followed up with my friend to make sure he was ok with that, and he surprised me by saying "sure; I'd like to help them get these guys." So, despite insurance having paid for most of the stolen computers and some of the damage, he welcomed the additional inquiry by the police. My pal did have one correction to my blog posting, those: NOBODY FROM THE POLICE ACTUALLY SAID:"WE'RE TOO BUSY". He agreed with me that in context of everything that was going on with crime, etc., in the police department, the general impression he got was that they were too busy. However, nobody actually said that, and all the dealings with the original reporting officer, the detectives, and the crime lab tech were positive and professional and courteous. They just never followed up on the tip of the camera film.
In fact, the last the lawyer heard from them was last summer on July 24th, when the office manager got a call and said that someone from the Cyber Crimes Unit was going out to the storage place and make a disc of the relevant film. After that, utter silence.
So, I emailed the Deputy's office back and said come on out and gave the address/phone number and name of the office manager, etc.
The Deputy's office assured me that there would be no "witch hunt" or "blame game" regarding this incident--in response to my concern about that. They were well aware that the district detective units were often overwhelmed with cases--particularly Northern District, which showed fully 20% of the city's burglaries.
They have (at least until the recent shootings) created a burglary detail, while using officers from other areas in the city to cover patrol posts. And they have made a couple burglary arrests. The department agreed that something like a video or tag number in a burglary case can be invaluable, because often in burglaries there is so little evidence or clues to go on.
However, now that two shootings on Greenmount resulting in deaths have occurred in the past week, and one farther up on York Road a bit earlier, Buz suspects that the hunt for the burglars has been supplanted by the heavy police presence in the Waverly area.