Thursday, December 13, 2007

Season of Crime

by Joyce Tremel

If I asked what season had the most crime, most people would respond, "Summer." That's when it's hot out, tempers are up along with the temperatures, houses are left open and easy to break into.

Well, you'd be wrong.

The Christmas season has it beat. This time of year, while we get fewer calls, almost all of them are crime related. (The busybodies must be out buying gifts, because they don't have time to keep us informed on every "suspicious person" wandering around their neighborhood.)

This is the time of year when retail thefts are abundant. When I was over at Ross Park Mall last week, I saw a Ross Township police officer strolling around. He wasn't doing his shopping either. I had no idea who he was, but I stopped to say hello. He told me that the mall hires off-duty officers to patrol in addition to their so-called security guards. Has anyone seen these security guards? They wear strange looking state trooper like hats and some patrol on Segways (wearing helmets, of course). Very amusing. Anyway, the Ross cop said it's a nice gig for the holidays. Extra money, most people in the holiday spirit and most important of all, there's law enforcement on site.

It made sense to me, especially having someone on site. McKnight Road is truly McKnightmare Road this time of year. Even with lights and sirens, a police car would have nowhere to go.

We haven't had too many retail thefts in Shaler this year, but many of the stores handle the thefts themselves. The loss prevention departments usually file the charges at the magistrate's office. Last year, however, I remember two women tried to leave K-Mart with an entire shopping cart full of items. Don't you wonder what they were thinking? They just pushed the cart right out the door. When they totaled the items for the police report, it was over $700. Not too bright if you ask me.

The crime we have the most of right now is thefts from vehicles. People, LOCK YOUR CARS! I don't care if they're in your driveway or not. Lock the damn things. All the little junkies pick a neighborhood every night and go through cars.

The junkies also hit the grocery stores. They steal steaks. If they get away with it, they take the steaks to restaurants (mostly in Lawrenceville and the East End) and sell them to the restaurant. So think twice before you order that steak at the Pleasure Bar.

15 comments:

ramona said...

Joyce, do people still leave car doors unlocked? Astounding.

Yesterday I was in Macy's and saw a shoplifter being escorted through the store. No, make that "paraded" through the store. She was college aged or so, not in tears but had definitely been there recently, flanked by two big security guards (also in the state troopery hats--what's up with that?) and two other guys in suits. The gossip flew through the store that she had been piling on layers in the dressing room. I admit, I felt a little sympathy but the sales clerks did not! They were pleased as punch. "It's not like she's stealing bread for her babies," one said. I guess she had a point.

Moral of the story: It was sooooo embarrassing. Not that I would ever get myself there, but I'd never want that kind of moment in my life.

Joyce said...

Ramona, people around here still leave their houses unlocked, too. I have to admit that I'm guilty of that sometimes.

mike said...

Joyce--Now I am so glad I didn't order steak last night at our dinner! (Does Atria's in Fox Chapel count as "East End"?) I've never forgotten an old local news story about the arrest of a shoplifter who was trying to walk out (how?) of a grocery store with steaks nestled between her thighs. Hmmm, time to go vegetarian?

Joyce said...

For anyone who has been following the Baby Grace case, the so-called parents have been indicted for capital murder:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071213/ap_on_re_us/child_s_remains_7

Joyce said...

Mike, as far as I know it's mostly the, um, how do I say this, "lower class" places that buy the steaks.

I don't think you have to worry about chains or fancier places.

Nancy said...

Joyce, you're gonna love this. Author JIm Born:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=8nF652F5dcE

Nancy said...

PS. I saw a news story on TV last night aobut thieves targeting women who are pumping gas into their cars. The thieves pop open the passenger side door and steal the purse or packages that are on the front seat. Word to the wise---lock your car even when you're pumping gas.

Joyce said...

Nancy's right--lock your car. Just make sure you take the keys out of the ignition first!

Joyce said...

OMG, Nancy. I just checked that video. I laughed myself silly. It was hysterical!

ramona said...

I just watched the video, too. James O. Born is one sick dude.

Can't wait until the next episode!

Annette said...

I'm afraid that every time I lock my car when pumping gas, I end up leaving the keys inside. Gas station people frown upon having their gas pumps tied up for an hour until AAA shows up.

Loved the James O. Born video!

Gina said...

Hey, folks - you're supposed to turn off the car while pumping gas, so take the key out of the ignition and lock the car!!!! People make fun of me because I lock my car while getting gas and lock my house while working in the yard, but there are light-fingered people who make it a point to notice when there's anything left unprotected, even for a second.

Clea Simon said...

I bet people leave doors unlocked because we're all so crazed this time of year! Add in that we are all shopping and/or getting holiday bonuses, so we're likely to have cash on hand, and may be more vulnerable because of some holiday cheer (especially after office parties). But wow, it's still pretty astounding to think that this is a high crime period.

thanks for the post!
Clea

Anonymous said...

Anytime everywhere things can be good or bad. Don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

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