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Sep 28, 2008


East Dallas Dubya

Last July my East Dallas home was burglarized. Very little evidence was left, but police were able to get some palm prints. Nine months later, some of the stolen property appeared on eBay and was traced back to a Dallas pawn shop. By law, pawn shops are required to record the identities of those who pawn merchandise at their stores, and this store had the identify of the person who pawned my stolen property (privacy laws prevented the shop from giving me this information, though). I relayed this information to the Dallas PD's investigating officer, thinking this solid lead might help them actually solve a property case, or at least make a little progress. Nope. The tip fell on deaf (or indifferent) ears, and no action was ever taken. Even in the face of a lead that, potentially, could have identified the criminal.

I know the DPD is stretched thin, and they do the best they can with the limited resources they have. I also realize this is just one anecdotal incident, and fortunately all that was lost was property (apart from sense of security and other warm fuzzy feelings). But it is nonetheless infuriating to see this apathy in this particular case when coupled with the stats for property crimes. It's really no surprise that DPD is batting .006.


At least you were smart enought to have fingerprints taken from the home burglary.

Every homeowner needs to be adamant in getting the police to have crime scene investigators get prints. The on-duty police officer will do everything in his power to disuade you, even telling you that it is against department policy. But that is not true.

Homeowners need to be persistent and request that fingerprints are taken from the burglarly site.

Did you file a complaint against the pawn shop? I think they have to be licensed. In addition, haul them into small claims court. A judge can order them to reveal the names.

East Dallas Dubya

Fortunately, there is a procedure for acquiring your stolen property from pawn shops. The item is basically seized by DPD and you go to a magistrate's court to prove up that it's yours (usually a 4-6 month wait). Alternatively, you can pay the pawn shop what they paid for the item (quicker, though I am soundly against paying for one's own stolen property).

The lesson I learned from my experience is that crime prevention is the key. It is unlikely the criminal will ever be caught (much less serve any significant time in jail), so your best hope to avoid being in the 94% of unsolved property crimes is to avoid being in the statistics altogether.

Scott Ed

So, burglars have a 94% success rate in avoiding capture. 94%! I wonder if businesses considering relocating to Dallas look at such data and decide to look elsewhere.

EDDubya's story reminds me of the piece I read in the DMN a while back about the guy that was out driving around when he suddenly realized that the car in front of him was his, which he had previously reported as stolen. He called the police and followed the car, but the police never responded. (Anybody else remember this story?)

Is this effective policing?


Dallas certainly isn't the only place where the conviction and sentencing process makes police feel that they are fighting a futile battle. Unfortunately, these issues are most obvious to those in the justice system, so it seems very little ever gets done about them. Bureau of Crime Statistics reported for year 2002 that only 30 percent of FELONS do time in the US, so imagine the dismal conviction/time rate for lesser criminals. When we vote to allocate more money to police, we need that money to go there and not be reallocated like some was in recent years. And we can have all the policemen in the world and still not improve crime if we don't also spend money on the justice and penal system. A lot of politicians TALK about fighting crime when they're running for election, but how many can you think of who actually make money-raising for this issue a priority once in office?

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