Take the Time To File a Report

Wednesday, May 14th 2008, 7:15 pm
By: News On 6

I am amazed how many people I talk to who have a strange or bizarre or even criminal encounter and yet they don't call the police.

I've talked to plenty of women who see a man exposing himself in a parking lot or park and they tell their girlfriends about it over drinks, but, don't file a report. They just don't take it that seriously. I tell them they should because flashers often escalate to peeping toms and they can escalate to rapists. Stopping them early would be a good thing.

I've encountered lots of senior citizens who get scammed out of money and they don't call because they're embarrassed. They feel dumb for falling for the scheme or think they should've known better. They just want to write it off as a learning experience and go on.  The problem with that is, they won't be the last person taken by that scammer. By not reporting it, they're almost guaranteeing there will be other victims.

I can't tell you the number of neighbors I talk to after someone in the neighborhood has been broken into and they'll remember seeing a man crawl into a window or try a door knob or even walk away with property under their arms, yet the neighbor doesn't call. They figure there's a reasonable explanation and don't to be wrong and waste the officer's time.

Don't be so reluctant to dial 911. It's there for just these types of cases. Yes, I know people abuse the line and call for directions or just hang up and all that does waste valuable time. But, if you feel something is wrong, if you've been a victim or you see something that concerns you, call.

I've heard police officers repeatedly say they'd rather come out 99 times and it be nothing than to come out one time and it be a burglary or rape or murder.

You will never know what your "little" phone call could lead to. Officers can come out and even if there is not enough to make an arrest, they can do a field interview, or F.I. They record a person's name, number, address, etc and ask them what they're doing in the area. If a crime is committed later, those F.I.'s become a list of possible suspects.

That's how Tulsa officers caught serial rapist Gary Graham. They had been searching for months for him, but he always slipped out of the grasp. They started going through old F.I.'s and tickets and learned officers had stopped Graham for loitering around some neighborhoods late at night. That break helped them build a case and now Graham is in prison.

Take the time to get involved, take the time to prevent future victims, take the initiative and file a police report. You never know what good it will do for you or someone else, down the line.