Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CRIME ALERT: Dark Grey Ford Taurus Reported to be Connected to Recent Salemtown Burglary Spree

North End residents should be on the lookout for a dark grey Ford Taurus and two young African American males in hoodies reported to be associated with a burglary yesterday on 6th Avenue North and one just a few hours ago on 5th Avenue North. On 6th, the burglars broke in through a side window. On 5th they kicked in the front door.

Salemtown has been experiencing what appears to be a rash of serial burglaries in the past two months with a number of houses broken into and electronics stolen, even with doors locked and alarm systems on.  The neighborhood association has met with police and detectives twice in the past week. Detectives believe that the suspect(s) live in this area.

UPDATE: While some reporters are trying to bring the pressure of the 4th Estate to bear against MNPD's traffic stops so that they can recreate in peace, I'd say we need more traffic stops in my neighborhood. In each of these burglaries the perpetrators are said to have drivers. Stop me. Stop my neighbors. Stop everyone until you catch some bad guys with a car full of stolen goods.


  1. I'd say we need more traffic stops in my neighborhood. In each of these burglaries the perpetrators are said to have drivers. Stop me. Stop my neighbors. Stop everyone until you catch some bad guys with a car full of stolen goods.

    ... Or, they could just pull over grey tauruses.

    "Those who would sacrifice essential liberties" etc..

    Come on, man, you know the drill. I am going to tread lightly here, because I know the rash of burglaries is a scary thing to endur, but you did open the barn door, using it as justification for the traffic stop approach to crime prevention, which of course you know I disagree with.

    You said on twitter that getting pulled over makes you "feel safer", but ... don't confuse the illusion with the real thing.

    Treating everyone as a suspect is not a viable solution to crime.

  2. It's tough for me to come down firmly on one side or the other, because I can see where the stops may be a means to an end, but I just don't think I can get behind arbitrary traffic stops, either.

    I defer somewhat to those who have been robbed and who are closer to the current 'action,' as it were, but I'm not exactly in safe territory myself: I'm only a block and a half away from this week's robberies, and there have been several around my block in weeks past as well, so I feel like I have an approximate sense of the imminent threat these robberies pose.

    And still I don't feel quite right about random traffic stops. Because I feel like, what's next? 'Your papers, please?'

    Don't get me wrong: I like and respect the police officers I've met in Nashville, and I'm not trying to imply any negative about them, per se. I'm more of the mindset that surely there can and must be more precision in law enforcement. I don't want to be hassled just to be safe, and I don't want my non-criminal neighbors hassled either.

    I mean, am I being foolishly idealistic to believe there's a way to accomplish what we want -- a safe neighborhood, with quick and effective resolution to crimes when they occur -- without having to get used to pointless traffic stops in the process? Maybe I am. I'm asking sincerely.

  3. Chris: I won't deny that I could have an illusion of safety (although you haven't demonstrated that my sense is illusory), which is a risk anytime someone feels safer. But a false sense of security is better than no sense of security at all under these conditions. When the police are here the criminals disappear; it's better than before we moved here when the police never came to S-town at night at all. I would suggest that the risk of opposing traffic stops is the illusion that we can have more security without inconvenience or the illusion that we can have laws without risk of being stopped under those laws.

    Kate: None of the traffic stops I've experienced were random. The officers told me exactly what the infraction was. And I believe that inconveniencing someone rushing to get to work or to happy hour should not be confused with fascism. It doesn't seem to me that MNPD is rounding up people for the crematoria or enforcing the rule of Der Fuhrer (I think that's what your allusion to "Your papers, please?" is). They may be cost people some work time or that extra 2-for-1 after work, but I have yet to see the gestapo tactics where I live. I also wonder how much of a generational issue this is: it seems to be the younger set of local reporters chomping down on traffic stops.

    The opponents and segments of the media keep trying to paint traffic stops as generally unwarranted, but I haven't seen any statistical evidence beyond anecdotal stories that suggest that innocent people are being stopped and burdened by police. Kate Howard's recent Tennessean article on the subject seemed to suggest that traffic stops were not arbitrary or random at all but targeted and based on racial profiling, something to which I am opposed.