Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Media Alert

OK, so Director Santiago has called a press conference for 2pm today in response to yesterday's article in the Trentonian in which Jack Knarr argues that crime reporting is being tweaked in favor of the "crime is down" mantra.

Well, 2pm is the perfect time for the daily news cycle, and it makes it tough for John and Joan Q. Public to attend...even though there is a big push to get "community leaders" to be at the event.

So, in case you have to miss this event, here's are the talking points that most likely spew forth from the august leaders of the the TPD and possibly even the sometimes "missing Mayor" himself:

Crime is down!

Media is bad. They never tell you the "good stuff" that happens here.

Crime is down!

Yes, some crimes that are reported one way are, upon further investigation, classified another way. There is nothing incorrect, illegal or wrong about this.

Sometimes a "break in" is not a burglary, but just a trespass. Doesn't get counted the same way.

Crime is down!

People have axes to grind. They can't admit that {the administration of the police department} is making a difference and crime is down.

Well, from where we sit. Crime is not down.

The numbers may have been reduced, in part through reclassification of the "deviant acts" as one blogger calls them. And truth be told, in some cases such reclassification may be warranted, but not all. Still, anyone paying attention to their neighborhoods, let alone the city as a whole can tell you that "incidents" are happening all over.

As for the big bad media only reporting the negative stuff: well, when the authorities aren't forthright and forthcoming with the facts and information, that is news. Of course, we would like to see the local media apply the same rules to other local municipalities.

Have you heard about the half dozen cars stolen from the Hyatt Parking Lot on Route 1 a couple of Saturday's ago? No? Where are the papers on that one?

But back to Trenton, if what the Director has said in the past and will say again this afternoon is true and crime really is down, why aren't the weekly crime maps made public for everyone to see? Then we can compare our knowledge with what is being "reported" and see if things actually match up or not.

Yes, Director, until you are totally open and honest about the weekly crime reporting and share the information willingly with the public and the media, warts and all, people will be suspicious.

1 comment:

Greg Forester said...

It is true that the other, more suburban municipalities do have crime that does not get highlighted as much as what happens in Trenton.

Last week a man returning to his suburban home in Plainsboro from work was assaulted and robbed of his cell phone, PDA and briefcase in broad daylight.

Just two weeks ago a West Windsor patrolman was assaulted by someone shoplifting from Wal-Mart in the Nassau Park Pavilion shopping center.

As someone who writes police blotters for West Windsor and Plainsboro, there is definitely daily crime going on there.

These crimes tend to be shoplifting, theft, an occasional assault, and more than weekly grand theft autos occurring at the Princeton Junction Train Station.

Trenton just tends to get highlighted, probably because of the city's bad image. But you are right.

A more forthcoming and honest administration would probably result in better police work and more fair reporting by the local media.