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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 8, 2006 4:54 PM. The previous post in this blog was The joys of church bankruptcy. The next post in this blog is The billionaire's new best friends. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Community policing: phone it in

John Dunshee (Just Some Poor Schmuck) of all people alerts us to the latest from the Portland police bureau.

Comments (9)

I love how they say "callers would be able to..." as if you have the choice, and as if it's a privilege.

"A burglary in your garage? Not worth sending someone out, ma'am. When he climbs on top of you in your bed, give us a call."

This city is hopeless.

I called 911 several weeks ago when a fist fight broke out on the corner of SW 6th and Salmon (less than a block from the County Courthouse).

The 911 operator (once they answered) seemed annoyed that I had even bothered to report a fight. They did not send an officer: "the victim is welcome to call and file a police report." Later that night, one homeless guy murdered another homeless guy. I guess he won't be filing a report.

The moral of the story: if you are assaulted in Portland, don't expect the police department to respond. The thinking bad guys already know it (witness the rash of stories of random teenagers commmitting assault in North Portland). The repeat offenders know when the jails are full, and realize what crimes are unlikely to land them in jail. I'm afraid the same may be true for many of the police officers: why make an arrest if the suspect is unlikely to spend the night in jail? Why bother with the paperwork?

Take karate lessons or hope you can walk the other way. If you disinclined to take a beating (or can't walk away), maybe it's time to get a concealed handgun permit? Or, just think nice thoughts, and maybe it will never happen to you.

Hey, just noticed that you are a corporate tax guru, I am wondering if I could ask you a tax question? Thanks!

It depends on the question. I don't give advice on particular taxpayers or circumstances.

It does not for the tax return. I am a student and taking a corporate tax class this semester. But I am very confused for the materials that the professor talked in th class. Could I send you an email regarding this question?

Well, the article says it would be a choice, so people could still get a live officer to take the report.

This already happens to some degree. When patrol cops are slammed with 911 calls it's quite common to just call the victim about their car prowl (on your personal cell no less) and take the report by phone. The Telephone Reporting Unit already takes some property crime reports by phone if there's no suspect info.

This makes sense given the gradual curtailing of policing in this town. The PPB is a triage unit now. Car prowls aren't investigated. Cops merely write reports to satisfy the victim's insurance and give neighborhood crime stats.

The garage burglary phone reporting sounds fishy. I doubt even (Nobody Can) Stan(d) Grubbs would advocate reporting an attached garage burglary by phone. That's a Burg I and the "CSI" guys should come out and print it. An unattached garage is a different story and is treated as such by law.

The dispatchers and 911 answerers have tough jobs. They can easily get just as jaded as cops from dealing with so many ridiculous people wasting valuable and scarce police resources.

I called 911 a few months ago for an attempted person crime on me and got a woman who's voice I very much recognized. She was curt and rude and I wasn't pleased. I assume this is the result of dealing with so many inane morons calling about things like losing their keys.

Interesting. I witnessed a fight on the bus mall (5th & Washington) early last month, called 911, and got a cruiser there within seconds. My statement was taken and I even was subpoenaed to a grand jury a couple of weeks later. Neither participant in the fight was what I'd classify as living above the poverty line, either. The exception to the rule?

Anahit: are you a PPB employee? Sworn officer?

Either way, I like the "Triage Unit" phrase. If somebody's unconscious or bleeding (or there's a weapon involved) you go to the front of the line.

My home was burgularized nearly two years ago. The responding officers and detectives were very professional. That didn't change the sense of violation that we experienced.

Victims of violent crimes clearly suffer much worse, but even a property crime is enough to shatter your sense of personal safety. We upgraded doors/locks, and added a Brinks Alarm: it cost more than $7,000 out of pocket (above and beyond what insurance paid, roughly $3,000). The thief was likely a drug addict (definitely a pro), and probably fenced everything for less than $1,000. That equates to a rougly 90% loss on my investment: my $11,000 loss netted less than $1,000 of cash to the perp. I would gladly see my property taxes double if we had a three strikes law for violent crime, no waiting list for drug treatment, and life sentences for habitual repeat offenders.

It sounds draconian and reactionary until you find your back door kicked in, and all your valuables have been carted off to finance a couple days worth of heroin consumption.

The value of all these property crimes likely exceeds a $100 million annually in Portland: a hidden tax paid by crime victims and insurance companies. You could pay for a lot of jail beds for $100 million. Maybe even some drug treatment centers.


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