I don’t know who it was that told me about the unwritten and unspoken rule of the road — if you saw a police officer sitting and waiting to catch people going quickly in the opposite direction, and you saw people coming in that direction that you were encouraged, if not obligated, to warn the drivers headed toward the speed trap by flashing your headlights a couple of times.
On the television and in movies, the police are not always shown to be the most competent people around. They pine for donuts and can easily be confused when they confront criminals, leading to said criminals getting away. After watching the Police Academy movie series, in which the police were depicted to be nearly entirely incompetent (and yet surprisingly successful when there was a need) I reached the conclusion that the police should not be taken seriously. Fortunately, I have had a good life of positive and less than positive experiences with the real police to know exactly how serious they are.
A man slowly ascends the stairs of a tall building. He has an assault rifle strapped to his back and carries a megaphone in one hand. When he gets to the roof he looks down on the hundreds of people walking down the street and calls for their attention. He watches carefully as they gather around in the street below and when just enough people are listening he lifts the assault rifle in one hand and puts the megaphone to his mouth and says, “Ladies and gentlemen… I own an assault rifle illegally!” Within minutes he is arrested and nobody is surprised. Why then would someone do the online equivalent and provide photographic evidence to the world, including the police that eventually arrested said someone?
We trust the members of civil service to do everything in their power to help and protect us. The firefighters of our communities risk life and limb to put out the most lethal fires. The emergency medical technicians save countless lives, even if at the risk of their own. Of course, the police stop some of the most heinous crimes and put the most vicious murderers and criminals away in jail. We are too familiar with what happens when the police give up on crimes. The problem occurs when the police officer that is put there to protect us ends up being the criminal that needs to be put away.
We are in the crest of a crime spree in New York City and I’m wondering why this is happening now. Is the economy finally so poor and far-reaching that the forgotten and misbegotten are now finally rising up from the streets to take back what was lost in this economic downturn?
A 400 percent increase in murders in tony Williamsburg; a 400 percent increase in rapes in Sheepshead Bay and a 250 percent increase in killings in Washington Heights are all troublesome statistics that have Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police officials concerned.
“We worry every day about trying to make this city safer,” Mayor Bloomberg said Monday.
I couldn’t believe what I read a few days ago about Apple employees and the San Francisco Police Department barging into an innocent man’s house in search of an iPhone prototype:
In an interview with SF Weekly last night, Calderón told us that six badge-wearing visitors came to his home in July to inquire about the phone. Calderón said none of them acknowledged being employed by Apple, and one of them offered him $300, and a promise that the owner of the phone would not press charges, if he would return the device.
A crime is committed. The police are called in on it or discover it in some other way. They are going to pursue it until they discover the person or people behind the crime — or so would have been my understanding of how the police works. I knew that the police abandoned certain cases that were just impossible to solve for whatever reason — perhaps the criminal involved covered their traces too well. What I was not aware of was exactly the extent to which the police simply give up on cases. In the UK that number is shockingly high — and even higher in London — as many as half of the cases, according to an article in the Daily Mail: