You might wonder why there is a photograph of a lawn mower in a post dealing with white collar crime! I will explain it in a moment.
First, let's discuss some of the trends in law enforcement. As a former state and federal prosecutor, (and currently, as an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense attorney), I never cease to be amazed at the changes I see in our criminal justice system! Some of the new trends sound good and others not so good. For instance, we have discussed before some of the "up and coming" sentencing changes, with a greater emphasis on alternatives to imprisonment. In other words, most states facing budget shortfalls, including Georgia, are facing the harsh reality that they simply cannot afford to lock up everybody and throw away the key!
But today, I want to talk a little bit about another trend, i.e. a change in the manner in which crime reporting will be dealt with by our local sheriff's department. Today, the Augusta Chronicle has reported that the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Department will no longer send a deputy out to your home to take a report on every theft, (or other minor), offense. Instead, deputies will simply take such reports over the telephone and report to the scene of the crime only if absolutely necessary. The newspaper also reports that this new crime reporting method follows the trend in other states, some of which even mandate online crime reporting for non-violent offenses.
What do you think about this new trend of "phoning it in?" I don't like it! I realize that, with tight police budgets, it appears to be more efficient to prioritize crimes and methods of crime reporting. However, on the other hand, this new trend flies in the face of the last "new trend," called community policing, in which police departments were encouraged to be more attentive to citizens' needs. Look, I don't know about you, but if somebody steals my lawn mower tonight, as a taxpayer and a crime victim, I want a deputy dispatched to the scene of the crime! And I want 'em there now and with sirens blaring! And here's another idea -- I want the police to actually try to catch the lawn mower thief! How about that idea for the next new policing trend?!
What do you think?