Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Greece "Police Reports": Lacks Substance & Credibility

Are we back to pretending to be a "Safe City?"

The D&C's list of reports for the period that appears to cover Dec 9th to Dec 21st suggests Greece is a virtual mecca of safety, aside from a handful of incidents.

What's wrong with this picture? Well, the period leading up to the holidays is usually very active for criminals who shoplift, break into autos parked at the mall, steal packages delivered to homes, burglarize homes for all those pretty wrapped gifts, etc. And then there's all of those "domestic disputes" and fender benders. Guess what? None for Greece! Among other things, this list fails to mention the call I made and GPD's response to it!

Now, while I can't speak for this week's list in the D&C, I've asked reporters in the past and was assured that their newspapers (Greece Post and D&C) print the information that GPD provides to them in its entirety. Based on that, I blame the Greece Police Dept. for leading us to believe in this fairy tale. Of course, realistically they are probably doing just what they are ordered to do by Uncle Auggie, right John?

33 comments:

Meaghan said...

FWIW, the police items that run in the D&C are by no means a comprehensive list of events reported and are in no way represented as such. The items that run both online and in the print version are edited for space and interest. In general, we do not report domestic disputes, traffic accidents or shoplifting, unless the event is particularly newsworthy, interesting or unusual.
Meaghan

SCATS said...

Meaghan ~~ Aha, so then, the D&C is promoting the "Safe City" image by not telling us about what's really going on!

When you say "the police items that run in the D&C are by no means a comprehensive list of events reported and are in no way represented as such" I beg to differ with you since there is nothing to indicate otherwise and since I've been told before that the list is "what GPD gave us." In fact, newsworthy incidents that receive attention outside the police reports often aren't even mentioned in the weekly list.

If you aren't going to publish the whole list, how about at least specifying the timeframe for what you are reporting and giving us a tally (a number) for domestic disputes, accidents, etc? It would at least be a more realistic indicator of what this community endures.

Anonymous said...

Buy a police scanner, SCATS, keep a tally and report the results on your blog!

SCATS said...

To 2:10PM ~~ You want me to take Meaghan's job away & leave her begging on the streets?!

Meaghan said...

I know I've never said that what's in the Our Towns list is "what GPD gave us" in any way that would indicate that the list is ALL GPD provided. I take a weekly look at the watch commander's log, which is a log of police calls made to GPD and other police actions. Some events make the cut, some don't.
I understand your concerns and certainly appreciate your suggestions for more extensive coverage, but am fairly certain there won't be any changes forthcoming to the way we report police items in Our Towns.
The watch commander's log is a public document, available by request at the front desk at Precinct 1.
If this is something you feel very strongly about, you would do the community a service by reviewing it yourself and providing a comprehensive account of all police calls and events. I'm sure there are many in Greece who would appreciate that.
Meaghan

SCATS said...

To Meaghan ~~ Is this YOUR decision to make: " ... but am fairly certain there won't be any changes forthcoming to the way we report police items in Our Towns." If not, who does decide what "makes the cut?"

You're right. I should get and publish the list every week. I should obtain a mic, a cameraman and a van when I get that police scanner, too ;)

I already provide a FREE community service. People PAY to read YOUR newspaper so that YOU get a paycheck, remember? God forbid that you might have to work to earn it. Is it any wonder newspapers around the country are going belly up?

Anonymous said...

There is a limited amount of space allocated in the print edition of the newspaper, as well as time involved in getting this information into print/web format.

I for one find many of the items reported petty and un-newsworthy. Every town has a ton of police calls for petty crimes and domestic and nuisance disturbances If it's not a felony, don't bother.

Meaghan said...

Well, this is the dawning era of the citizen journalist. You can get a FLIP camera yourself and shoot your own video and edit with Movie Maker. Do away with the cameraman entirely. You don't need a van and a police scanner is only about $50 at Radio Shack. Have at it. In the world of media, the more the merrier.


Pretty clear I said I decide what "makes the cut" when I review the watch commander's log.
As far as any changes to the overall way police reports are handled in all the communities we cover in Our Towns...you can take that up with my editor if you like. I do what I can in the time I have allotted.

Anonymous said...

Scats-
Greece needs an entire "Reality Show" all its own to capture everything that's missing from the local news sources. The politicians like our laundered reports just fine. It suits them and their agendas to get people to believe in the unbelievable. How else could someone like Merritt Rahn get away with so much for over a decade? Speaking of which, is Loszynski still writing his report or has he ridden out with yesterday's sunset? I'd like to see Meaghan tell us how much we've spent on his nonsense so far, but I'm not holding my breath that the total figure will ever see the light of day. How about his report Meaghan? Will you FOI it?

Anonymous said...

I travel by several schools on my way to work every day. People would be shocked to see how much time the police spend at our middle and high schools. It's one of Greece's best kept secrets.

Anonymous said...

Meaghan@2:23 why can't you do the community this service since you already go get the list anyways?

SCATS said...

There you have it folks. An admission of selective journalism accompanied by a suggestion to report the news ourselves.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems you might find in investigating this might be that petty crimes are not always reported and other more serous crimes are written down to lesser offenses.

If I recall this was a tactic followed in Philadelphia -- before it was exposed -- to make crime look like it was declining. So looking at the police blotter does not solve this problem since the deed is already done by then

But the D an C does suck
Did anyone see that horrendous puff piece on Esposito? Read some of he commenter's to get a better view.

Of course a reporter has to apply a standard of relevance, but I think the standards that D and C reporters and some of its editorial board apply is lacking.

There is a smugness at the paper that is not justified by the achievements of and quality of the reporting and that many of the older hands just did not have.

Shame

Meaghan said...

Isn't reporting the news yourself what the great citizen journalism revolution that's got the blogosphere all a-twitter is supposed to be about? Anyone with a free Blogspot account or a few bucks for a godaddy domain can report whatever they like. Twitter's free, you can sign up for that too.

Interesting criticism on "selective journalism." If some decision isn't made somewhere about what's newsworthy or not where will the space come from in which to report everything and who will provide the resources to do so?

That leads me to answering 4:57: It's not that I'm couldn't type up every item from the commander's report (including the often somewhat amusing, and very sad cases of parents calling police for events such as their 3-year-old refusing to go to school) and provide a running tally of calls, it's that I don't have the space within the paper to do so, nor do I have the time available. A much better system would involve the police department making the log available to all by posting it online daily or weekly. For example, the Chicago Police department does a fantastic job here: chicago.everyblock.com/crime/

Experimentally, I tried a much smaller-scale mapping program earlier this year on the D&C's Greece Communities page, but it was too time-consuming. I had to create and upload a data-filled spreadsheet, then convert it in the mapping software, then have it uploaded to our Web site. It's not that I don't think it would be a fantastic resource for residents, it's that I don't have the time resources to do it on a regular basis. And, the editor I worked with on the project was laid off over the summer. End of project.

I'm quite serious when I encourage citizens to scrutinize their own government agencies. I'm only one set of eyes. The more citizens involved in overseeing democracy, the better for all of us.

Meaghan

"No nation ancient or modern ever lost the liberty of freely speaking, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves." John Peter Zenger

Anonymous said...

By another name isn't 'selective journalism' also called censorship?

SCATS said...

Meaghan ~~ You just made a great case against me getting further involved with new technology! Besides, I still need my day job to support my other habits, like food & heat.

I've heard of Neighborhood Watch groups monitoring & posting crime stats for communities. Too bad we have no active group.

Meaghan, how can you tell if the watch commander's list is everything, or edited?

Meaghan said...

SCATS: To be honest with you, I don't have an assurance that the log I see includes every single 911 dispatch or police call. Some items are even redacted if they involve an ongoing investigation. Each community I've worked in has provided such information in a different format. In Irondequoit and Gates, I was able to directly thumb through all of the police reports that were filed for the prior week. In East Rochester, I was given a pile of selected police reports. In Fairport, I was given a summary sheet. In Greece, I am given a binder that includes a log of police calls and a summary of events. Irondequoit would generally pull out the reports that involved domestic disputes and juveniles. Gates gave me free reign. The Sheriff's Office posts a very select few police items on each zone's Web page and doesn't update often.

To 7:48: I guess you can call it what you want, but decisions are made all the time about story length and placement. Take, for example, a half-hour newscast. Someone decides the order in which stories run, and the length of time devoted to each one. Local news on TV gets, what, six to eight minutes to lead the broadcast? "Newsier" events are given greater play. In a newspaper, decisions are made about which stories run 1A above the fold, as a centerpiece, as an inside story and which will lead a section. On the Web, some stories get play as the centerpiece, others run along a side rail, others still in the communities section. There just isn't the time and space to cover everything. That's where all this fantastic technology can come in. If there's an area of interest you or anyone else has, attack it. Report it and publish it. The tools are out there for the taking.

Chris Lerch said...

All journalism is selective. As a journalist, I or my editor decide what to cover and what not to cover. Most of it is based on what we think are the most compelling subjects but time and money come into play as well in determining the level of coverage.

SCATS said...

To Chris Lerch ~~ Don't forget that in Greece politics plays a role in most things.

Just think, if it weren't for Nick Joseph, Rahn would still be chief, Ball & Mackin & a host of others would still be on the Town's payroll & Schammerhorn wouldn't have been demoted. Censorship of any sort in light of all that's happened at GPD results in the public continuing to view the PD with one eyebrow raised ;)

Anonymous said...

Funny though how the "Fairport Schools Screwed The Taxpayers" story is still front and center on the D&C Website for day 3 and 1/2 now...

Can they be charged with inciting a riot? Greece got a little stale for them? Perhaps the deaths, the rapes, the drugs, the messed up babies, the guns, the cover-ups and the lies got a little boring on the West side?

Or maybe this is exactly what Greece deserves.

Not selling the ranch. Going to rent it out for premium to some sucker from the city who wants the benefits of the "great" education in the school district their four children will now receive.

Au revoir!

Anonymous said...

When Greece's audit hit the press it didn't stay there very long. Let's file for discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Was Ball charged with something that stuck or was that last statement an attempt at character assassination?

Anonymous said...

To 4:03pm Many of the police cars you see at schools belong to the SRO officers.

Anonymous said...

After reading through this thread, I tend to agree with Scats. I want to see a summary of what is happening in Greece. I don't want details about every petty thing but some numbers would be nice. I do like reading about the more "interesting" incidents, too. I'm amused that our reporter has time to blog, but complains about too little time to improve the police reports column. Her remark about parents calling police when their 3 year old tot refuses to go to school sounds exactly like an example used by former Lt. Wise! I think the boe should look into that complaint. Why are we sending 3 year olds to school? At what cost?

Anyway Meaghan, try asking Greece police to give you the log in a more user friendly format. The worst they can do is say no.

SCATS said...

To 6:03AM ~~ Let's see ... it is a FACT that he was FIRED. If you call that "character assassination" then so be it.

SCATS said...

To 9:07AM ~~ Oh come on. Get your head out of the sand! The SRO's do not usually park multiple vehicles blocking the bus loop in front of Apollo (for instance). There ARE incidents at the schools on a routine basis. Ask any HS or MS student.

Meaghan said...

@11:37: I think your math is off. The Fairport story didn't go up until around 2 p.m. Monday and you posted at 11:37 p.m. Tuesday. That's about 34.5 hours, not 84.

@1:41: I hope you're being snarky. More than 40 stories related to the Greece audit and associated fallout have been published so far in the paper, and that doesn't count the television news coverage.

@10:44: I haven't disagreed that more coverage of police blotter items would be valuable for the community.
Happy to amuse you. Everyone needs a smile now and again. The world needs a little more joy.
And, I have asked the police to provide the log in a better format, by email or at the very least fax it to me so I don't have to go out to HQ and write it all out longhand...so far, they haven't.

Meaghan

Anonymous said...

They always want to say it's the SRO Officers SCATS. Apollo and Olympia are the worst.

Anonymous said...

PS It was Lt. Wiseguy that used to provide the crime reports to the D & C. Perhaps Loszynski doesn't want Urmacher to release them anymore.

SCATS said...

To 6:40PM ~~ Wiseguy was Auberger's "mole" in GPD. I wonder who has taken on that role now ... ?

BLOG Administration is not posting a comment from earlier today complaining about supposed "bullying" since the accusation doesn't bother to point to any example of the alleged behavior. Interestingly, the two paragraph "complaint" was perfectly written in the first paragraph but the second was riddled with errors in words and names that were correctly spelled earlier. A little bit early with the New Years celebration?

Anonymous said...

It must be nice to have so much time on your hands to care about every misdemeanor committed by schoolkids or other assorted minor crimes. Greece is a very large town and if even 1% of us misbehave, that's going to be a huge list. I say restrict the reporting to felonies only.

SCATS said...

To 2:27PM ~~ Actually, good parents do care! Their children sit next to these trouble-makers on the bus, in the classroom and at the lunch table ;)

Anonymous said...

Arby's on Ridge Road West was robbed on Saturday night as was the Kwik Fill Gas Station on Dewey. But there's not crime in the Town of Greece.