Wednesday, November 16, 2005

San Diego Crime Statistics Revisited

The link above is to a an excellent story by Channel 10 News in San Diego on the underreporting of crime in San Diego, a subject previously discussed here. Click here to watch the actual video. In 2002, law sponsored by the California State Sheriffs' Association actually made it easier for police officers and sheriff deputies to ignore a citizen's arrest. If law enforcement fails to act on a citizen's arrest or fails to take a report of a crime, then it as though the crime never happened. It is not recorded in the official crime statistics for San Diego. Crime appears to be down when it actually is not.

In some recent cases, San Diego Police Officers have declined to take shoplifters into custody. In one extreme case, security from a local mall took a shoplifter who had taken more than $500 of merchandise into custody at the request of a store employee. Two SDPD officers later convinced the store manager to drop the charges and apologize. Police later decided to arrest the shoplifter several days later on outstanding arrest warrants.

A related problem is the issue of unserved warrants. No reasonable person would dispute that the San Diego Police Department is understaffed. San Diego needs more officers and it needs to pay them more, but it can also do more to prevent crime by using the resources it has. Law enforcement can prevent crime by enforcing outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants. Warrants are for wanted fugitives. The courts have long since relegated failure to appear for "minor" matters to referrals to collection agencies. Warrants are for felonies and for dangerous misdemeanors.

There are currently 50,000 outstanding warrants in the City of San Diego. The SDPD warrant detail consists of 2 officers, which is not nearly enough. I wonder how much crime could be prevented if patrol officers were proactively searching for criminals with outstanding warrants.

About the Author:
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe what I saw this Saturday. I was at the Jamba Juice on Friars Rd. and Mission Gorge Rd. at about 11:30 AM. I was waiting for some friends. I was seated as were others at the outside tables. I heard some comotion from the street, and looked up to see two black males who had jumped out of their car, were punching the driver and passenger in the car just ahead of them. The victims were yelling and screaming, however they could not drive off because the light was red, and there were cars stopped in front of them.

Just then, a San Diego Police Cruiser was heading in the opposite direction. The cruiser slowed as he saw what was happening. The suspects then ran back to their car. The police car then drove off.

The light turned green for the victim and suspect vehicle. Everyone on the side of the road was waiting for the police car to make a u-turn and go after the suspects. To our amazement, he just kept driving.

We were so angry to have seen a police officer just drive by, clearly seeing what had happened, yet do nothing about it.

SDPD is in bad shape. What a shame.