Police to citizens: for your safety, break the law

Some comments given to Berkeley police officers who have dispensed advice on preventing crime, including a recommendation that we all break the law (and perhaps our necks falling down in the dark, too).

The Berkeley (California) Police Association, a labor organization composed of police officers, has sent a message to its subscribers with crime-prevention advice.

I have written back with some comments on the advice given, as follows:

To: Sergeant Chris Stines
President, Berkeley Police Association

“• Don’t advertise new purchases; cut up packaging or boxes and place in garbage can”

In other words, violate Berkeley’s recycling ordinance. When the police tell us to break the law, something significant is going on.

“• Always use indoor timers for lights – not just when you go on vacation”

In other words, keep the lights off when you need them and keep them on when you don’t.

“If ever you feel unsafe in your home, please call the Berkeley Police
Department. We welcome your calls and are here to serve you.”

The message that you sent out, if recipients believed it, would make any reasonable person feel unsafe at home day and night. If everybody called the BPD all the time, the BPD obviously wouldn’t be able to cope.

The obvious thing that your message didn’t say is:

“If you are sick of having to barricade yourself at home and keep struggling to fool burglars, tell your representative on the City Council that you’re ready to pay additional taxes to fund a truly effective Police Department with a crime-prevention program that really works.”

Why didn’t your message say that?

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