When Fullerton PD unveiled their system a few months back at a council meeting I wanted to sign up immediately.
Since signing up, I have received a few dozen email alerts of crimes around Fullerton. On the surface, they are supposed to keep residence aware of the issues in their neighborhoods. Subscribers can click areas on a map and receive alerts attributed to that particular area.
A few weeks ago I noticed something odd about the alerts. All of them were crimes involving cars getting broken into. In some instances the crimes were automotive vandalism.
Missing from every single alert were crimes against people, or "crimes persons" as they are known to law enforcement. I went back and reviewed the emails just to make sure. No, not one alert that involved a robbery, rape, assault, or any other crime against a person. Why?
Seeking answers, I contacted the Fullerton Police Department's Public Information Officer, Sergeant Andrew Goodrich. Goodrich said that crimes persons should be included in the alerts and suggested that there were no such crimes in the particular district I had subscribed to. A quick check of my iWatch settings indicated that I had subscribed to all 39 areas!
Concerned that there was some filtering of data that eliminated reports of rapes and assaults, I asked Goodrich how specific crimes are chosen to be posted. Here is his response:
"Our RSVPs (retired volunteers) search through a report that is generated specifically for iWatch, and then decide from that report which crimes to report on. The criteria and direction I give them is to include crimes that they would want to know about if they lived in those neighborhoods. Robberies and assaults are on this report that is generated. I will look into why there haven’t been any reported lately, but that’s how we do what we do.
Andrew GoodrichSergeant – Community Services / Public Information OfficerFullerton Police Department(714) 738-6838(714) 525-3559 Fax"
There you have it; iWatch does not alert citizens to those crimes which involve people getting hurt. I suppose if people think that the only crimes being committed in Fullerton are car burglaries on the other end of town, they may feel their police department is doing just fine.
If you ever want to see just how lopsided the public reporting is, compare Fire Department service calls to Fullerton Police Department service calls. The Fire Department openly reports their Downtown workload for paramedics while NOTHING is reported in the crime blotter. (hat off to Fire Chief Knabe)
It's sad that we cannot trust our own Police Department to keep us informed.