editorial: Long waits can turn citizens off when it comes to police
KJ Mullins-Toronto: The bloody t-shirt rested inside a tree hollow with more blood on a water bottle and other scraps of paper nearby. The logical thing to do is to call the police. Will that call tie up the rest of your day?
Today at Allan Gardens a bloody t-shirt was discovered and a call quickly went to 51 Division. That call was transferred to an operator who said to wait for police to arrive.
The amount of blood on the shirt indicated that this could be serious but there was no victim around. There were other items on the ground including a water bottle with blood spatters on them. These items could clearly be evidence in some kind of crime. My friends and I waited for the police. And waited.
After a second call we waited a while longer but it was the end of the day and traffic was increasing. With the duty desk at 51 saying it could be some time before they would arrive the decision was made that we would have to go.
Perhaps the police arrived to the location later this evening. No follow up calls have been made over four hours since that initial call.
We aren’t the first in Toronto to make a call to the police and have to wait. We are also not the first to have to leave a potential crime scene because of that wait. I attempted to use the new Crime Stoppers App but it couldn’t find my GPS location so it didn’t work. The end result was a feeling of failure. One that the police didn’t think a bloody shirt was important enough to send at least a bike officer and two, I wasn’t able to do my duty as a resident of the city by reporting a crime properly.
It’s something that many in the city complain about. Calls to the police that are not followed up in a timely manner. Those who have experienced this tend to not call again when they see a crime.
Granted the police are busy. It’s summer and the criminals are out to play. But when the possibly of violence is in question how long should it take for police action? Should citizens have to wait in an area where they could be in danger for hours when they call the police?
In today’s case the location of the t-shirt was not out in the open. If and when the police do arrive to the scene will they be able to find it?
How long do you think citizens should wait at a crime scene for the police to arrive?