What would you do if you parked your car, locked it, and returned to find the window smashed and property missing? The first thought that comes to mind is to contact the local police to report a crime as the victim. Being told that the police are too busy responding to other more important calls is not what you want to hear at the moment. You are informed to report the break-in on the police web site. This is exactly what happened to Melanie Walker in Tallahassee.
A quick stop at the post office turned out to be a big headache for a Tallahassee hairdresser. A burglar busted her car window and stole her purse. She claims the police told her they were too busy to respond. Melanie Walker couldn’t believe that a burglar would smash her window and steal her wallet at 10:30 in the morning at one of the busiest post offices in town, but someone did. It happened at the Centerville Road station Wednesday.
“I called TPD because that’s never happened to me before and I thought the first thing you should do is call the police,” Walker said, “and I was instructed to go to their web site and file a report and they told me not to worry about someone coming to the scene because they didn’t have someone available.”
Walker’s friend couldn’t believe it either, so he called back. “They told me that what they were doing was suicides, homicides, car wrecks and would not be able to respond and they had four waiting.” Joey Bazzell said.
They ended up calling the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Walker says the deputy dusted her car for prints, checked the post office for surveillance video and gave her a fraud packet with information on what to do about her stolen license and credit cards. Walker says she would have gladly waited for a Tallahassee police officer but no one ever offered to send one.
“Maybe it just happened so frequently they just know my purse is gone and they’re just not able to worry about that,” Walker said. “Is that okay?” she asks.
“I don’t think so. I mean I understand that they’re very busy, but it was … I really expected someone to come out. I feel like if people aren’t being investigated or being caught or if no one’s even looking for these people when they’re smashing out windows and taking property then they’re just going to keep doing it over and over because they’re in danger of getting caught.” Tallahassee Police declined to comment on camera for this story being reported by WCTV. One aspect for certain is that this is not good public relations giving the appearance of not caring about a victim of a crime.
Spokesman Dave Northway says TPD offers on line reporting as an option, but will send an officer if requested as soon as one becomes available. Northway says if that did not happen it was a mistake.
Over twenty years ago, the wife of this examiner experienced a very similar situation having her purse stolen while she visited her father’s grave in Fulda, Germany. The German police told her to drive to the station and report it and that they, too, were too busy with other calls. It is a real fact that police have to set priorities on calls solely depending of the calls for service at any moment.
The dominant lesson here is to not only lock your car, but do not keep valuables unattended, or in plain view, in the car. The police will respond, and should, when they can afford an officer not responding to other calls. It is like any other calls for service, the line forms at the rear. Be patient.