Crime in College Park

We’ve had a little bit of a crime wave here in College Park in the last month. Although things have quieted down recently, for a while it seemed my wife’s email account was getting daily reports of a UMd student getting robbed at gunpoint or jumped. Campus and county police have flooded the area, at least by day, and temperatures have dropped, so maybe that has driven the criminals out. But not before we’ve been privileged to enjoy some painfully funny public relations and press coverage, and not before I was inspired to come up with a Web 2.0 crime tracking tool. Read on for more.

The Town Council Weighs In

The town of College Park doesn’t have its own police force. If it did, it would join an unwieldy number of local authorities–our next-door neighbor estimates there are 60 different police forces and fire departments inside the Beltway. This bold solution may be in the offing, however, according to the October 19 issue of the College Park Gazette. To quote their front-page article “College Park explores ways to expand policing”:

The College Park City Council has approved a measure that would allow the city to seek bids for a study to determine whether there is a need for a municipal police force.

Whoa, hold your horses there, city council. Don’t go rashly approving measures to give yourself permission to ask people to tell you how much it might cost if you maybe chose one of them to give you an opinion of whether you should do something. Don’t want to be too hasty.

Helpful Hints from the Police

Also last week, we came home to find a glossy piece of paper hanging from our door knob. The Prince George’s County Police Department had put together some Personal Safety Tips, including “Check the front and back seat of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside,” and “Avoid lingering near your door or fumbling with keys.” Since we’re apparently in the realm of horror movies here, I might add, never say “I’ll be right back” and try to avoid being slutty, fat, or gay. If possible, be the comic relief, since they usually survive to the end of the movie to make some smart-aleck comment.

Turning Others’ Misfortune into an Opportunity to Show Off

Finally, I haven’t finished it yet, but I do have a little web application in the works that allows one to post crime reports and add them to a Google map of the area. I’ll post it when it’s really ready. Hopefully, we won’t have much cause to use it in the near future.

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