It's that silly season, when candidates try to out-do each other in promises and ideas. But many of them, as is usual, are calling for more police.
In today's Blade, the Mayor "scolded" those who say we need more police officers in Toledo.
"Mr. Finkbeiner suggested some media and some political candidates overemphasize crime. "Every wannabe politician is out there waving the flag, easy flag to wave, 'We need more police,'" Mr. Finkbeiner said."
Never mind the fact that Carty Finkbeiner did the same thing when he was a candidate for mayor, calling for a force of 700 sworn officers within 16 months of taking office...another case of 'do as I say - not as I do'?
What I found interesting was this quote: "...the mayor said reported crime in Toledo for the first four months of 2007 was down by 14.4 percent compared to the same period last year..." - the key being reported crime. Of course, the reporter points out further down in the story that reported crimes against persons and property as of April 30th was actually up by 1,164 over 2006, which means that other crimes must have been down in order to give the 14.4% figure the mayor quoted.
But I go back to that key word - reported. There have been many stories and complaints that, for minor crimes, police are not responding to the scene, but are asking citizens to come into a precinct to file a report. Unfortunately, I fear that many, when faced with being told to 'come down and file a report' will perceive the effort to be futile and not bother.
Since we only know of the reports that are actually filed, we really don't have a good handle on the amount of crime that is occurring. We don't know if the number of people who fail to file a report is large or small, nor the impact that number would have on our crime statistics.
Since this reporting policy has been in place for a number of years, the crime statistics should at least be comparable year to year. But if we made it easier for people to report crimes - or had enough officers to actually respond when a crime is discovered - I can't help but wonder what our crime statistics would be...and whether or not citizens would think we need more police, no matter what the mayor says.