December 19, 2009
Each morning, hours before dawn, I am on the internet scanning news stories from dozens of media sources, looking for stories to post on The Police News. As I do, I often read several accounts of the same incident in different newspapers and on different TV stations.
I am always amazed at how different the same story appears in the various media sources.
This morning I read a report in a daily newspaper about a robbery suspect that was chased by police, abandoned his vehicle and ran into a wooded area where he was finally flushed out by police dogs. The newspaper headlined it's story, "Suspect hides in mud to try to elude police." Didn't happen. He covered himself with some leaves.
The newspaper story went on to say, "search dogs found him covered with mud." It's true he was dirty, but he was not covered with mud. We have pictures of the arrest. There was no mud.
Of course the story clarifies that at the end of the sentence by tagging it with, "authorities said." Oh really! What authorities? Must have been an authority that wasn't there as our photographer was.
The story is perpetuated when a TV station picks up the story from the newspaper and repeats it word for word. Spreading the news is the name of the game, but shouldn't they spread it right?
Now, whether or not this crook had mud all over him or not is no big deal. Who really cares? My point is this. What else do they report wrong? What else do they exaggerate? It was actually a good story without the mud.
Can we really trust the mainstream media to report only the facts to us nowadays, without all the color and hoopla? Probably not. Today's news reporting is all about drama and hype in a competive business where they all compete for the same advertising dollar and reporters are competing for jobs.
Could this be part of the reason we are seeing large, old line, print newspapers dwindling and fading away in preference to online news?
My grandfather always said he took things with "a grain of salt." He beleived only a morsel of what he read and heard.
My grandfather was a smart man.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
December 17, 2009
Sugar Land police have a great idea. Experiencing a rash of vehicle burglaries brought on by the holiday shopping season, the SLPD has formed a special impact team made up of officers who will focus exclusively on vehicle burglaries and shopper safety.
As the holiday season progresses, traditionally crime increases. The recent arrests of two men from El Campo caught breaking into cars has put a damper on criminal activity in Sugar Land. Both men were charged with several auto break-ins inside and outside the city limits.
Officers on the impact team have department-wide resources available, including plain clothes investigators, crime prevention officers and citizen volunteers.
The task force is saturating areas identified as "hot spots" with newly created impact teams. Special stings and surveillance operations are also being conducted.
In addition to enforcement, the impact teams work closely with citizens and owners of retail areas, especially shopping centers and fitness clubs.
The Police News thinks the Sugar Land Police have the right idea. They have recognized a traditional problem that arises every year during the holiday shopping season. Rather than just waiting for calls to come in from victims, they are out there, poised to grab those crooks who are sure to appear. And when they do, they're busted.
That's what we call 'police work'.
The following tips can help prevent vehicle burglaries:
• Police suggest shoppers remember the basic, common sense, precautions during their shopping trips.
• Remember to always keep vehicles locked. When parked overnight, remove all valuables from vehicles. When shopping, make one trip to the car with purchased merchandise, and then leave the lot. Thieves have been known to watch shoppers as they place merchandise in their cars before returning to a store.
• Never leave identification, wallets, credit cards or jewelry in vehicles while visiting fitness centers. Doing so is much riskier than using a locker inside the gym or leaving the items at home.
• If personal property must be left in a car, lock it in the trunk. Unfortunately, this option does not exist for pick-up trucks or SUVs. Thieves are aware that there is no secure place to store items in these types of vehicles.
• Finally, before you leave a vehicle, take a second to look inside and make sure nothing is visible from the outside that could attract a thief.
The Police News