Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A proposal within a rambling post on crime and the chief's police blog

Mount Rainier Police Chief Michael E. Scott runs a fantastic crime blog for our city. Check it out in my blog list in the right-hand column. My only suggestion would be to include police items not directly related to crime, like community activities, traffic control issues, or emergency preparedness. I would also like the convenience of finding Chief Scott's regular reports to the city council on the blog.

I suppose the above qualifies as a point in itself, but I began this post with a different purpose. As I have read the blog over almost a year and a half, the trouble spots in Mount Rainier have become very apparent. For example, on the north side: 7-11, Grand China, the other 7-11, and BP.

For those who don't know, either an organized group of criminals or a gaggle of unaffiliated freelancers have been stealing purses, wallets, and cars from the BP station at Eastern and Varnum for some time. Chief Scott has warned the public repeatedly, but customers who leave valuables in unlocked cars even for a few seconds continue to lose them, and sometimes the entire car is taken. The thieves are not invisible. Eyewitnesses describe them every time, but they seem to be rarely if ever caught (please correct me if I'm wrong on that point), and the crimes continue.

I have a security camera on the outside of my house because a young man whipped it out after following my wife home from the Metro station last year. It has proven useful - mostly for watching schoolkids throw stuff at the house and once for a man who asked to inspect my alarm system. So why doesn't BP have an effective surveillance system? If they have cameras, they have never resulted in a good image of a suspect.

I suggest that Mount Rainier ask the BP station owners to install an effective system as soon as possible. In fact, I suggest that we discuss whether the city should require businesses that are also crime hot spots to invest in security systems. Perhaps the police could supervise installation and the city could partially subsidize purchase.

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