Friday, 9 August 2013

POLICE NEED A BETTER SYSTEM FOR REPORTING CRIMES IN PARKS

Have you ever had to report a crime in progress at a place with no street address? Many cities have green spaces but if there are no roads, how do you tell the cops where to go? I faced that dilemma on this date in 1985.

As I took my usual Friday afternoon walk in Mill Creek Ravine Park, I heard a loud crack. Two ten-year-old boys came into view, one holding a 22 gauge shotgun. Both chattered excitedly about the squirrel they just wounded. With another bullet, they finished off the poor creature.

Armchair quarterbacks told me later that I should have confronted the boys and politely told them that discharging firearms was against the law in public parks. I felt that there was reason enough to get the police first and not risk being threatened or shot myself. Consequently, I raced home to use my phone and call the complaint line.

I had difficulty telling the officer who took my call exactly where the crime took place. No signs were posted along the walking path and I had no idea of which street or avenue was nearest to the place. I did my best to give an approximate address. Then I waited in case the police would phone back. Not only did nobody call but I wasn't able to meet my brother Roy downtown as we had planned.

Even though we now have cell phones with GPS apps, it's still hard to call the police and give exact coordinates in a park. Mill Creek is especially difficult since most of it is left in a natural state. If you know of a better way to inform the authorities of a crime in progress in an undeveloped area, please comment.

I've written about other times when I tried to report to the police some sort of illegal activity in my three memoirs. Two of them are on the Bruce Atchison's books page. I recently published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.