Friday, March 20, 2009

In perspective

The recent spate of residential burglaries with the same M.O. has a lot of people abuzz. Wednesday night at a speaking engagement with the Lincoln Women's Chamber of Commerce, I fielded a lot of questions and sensed a good deal of concern.

I'm concerned too, particularly since I live in the most recent target area. It's good, though, to keep things in perspective. Here's the past 15 years in residential burglaries through March 18th of each year:

(I wonder if there's a police department anywhere on earth where the chief could grab these data in 10 minutes while wearing his fuzzy slippers.) The long term trend is flat. The fluctuations are normal in data of this type. The heck with the data, though, I'd like to catch the thief. These are some awfully good photos, that's an unusual coat, and a distinctive stocking cap.


Anonymous said...

I just read on the koln kgin website that a 60 year old man was hit in the head with a sledgehammer after confronting a robber. Is that related? They did not say where it happenned. This is getting really scary chief. We need to catch this person!!!!

that's what she said...

Lots of states have passed Castle Doctrine laws which make defending your home and occupants a lot more clearly defined and are more anti-criminal than Nebraska Law is without being as drastic as Texas Law.

The problem is the legislature is more worried about smoking bans and allowing women to breast feed.

Steve said...

While I would agree that Nebraska law on this topic (and many others) is vague and confusing to the average person, my understanding of it would allow a person to use force to protect themselves (or other persons) and their property from physical harm or theft. This is basically what the first paragraph of the Nebraska Constitution declares as a right of the people.

That doesn't mean it's okay to shoot some adolescent walking through your back yard and stepping on your flowers. It means that a person discovering an intruder in their home whose intent is unknown, and who may well be armed themselves, can use whatever force is necessary to repel or subdue the intruder, if he/she believes it is necessary to protect themselves or their property.

Some people will argue that it's not right to use deadly force to protect one's property. That's easy to say when it's not their property. Would they be willing to sacrifice their own property to replace what was stolen from the victim? Not likely.

I put in a lot of hard hours to purchase the things I have, and I'm not going to allow some hoodlum to walk off with them for the price of a screwdriver and a few minutes of his time. If I feel safe doing so, I will allow them to stop what they're doing and wait for the police to arrive, but I won't give them the opportunity to shoot me first if it appears that is a possibility.

If I come out on the wrong end of a gun battle, or a subsequent court case, so be it. At least, I tried to do what I feel is my duty. That is, to obey the law as I understand it and stand up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

The KOLN/KGIN website also said that the aforementioned sledgehammer-handle assault victim told them that he owes people money (use your imagination, possibly illegal sports betting or something similar), and that was why he thought it might have happened. The newspaper neglected to mention that detail, probably because when more people think they could be a potential victim, they get scared - and buy more papers.

Now then, female retail clerks working solo shifts that start or end during dark hours, in the NE part of town, maybe they do need to be a little more concerned about becoming a victim at this point in time, but that's another matter entirely.

that's what she said...

I agree with you completely. It's my stuff, I paid for it. Reading the Nebraska Law, at first it appears that deadly force can be used to stop someone in your house.

BUT, this part, '(4) The use of force to prevent or terminate a trespass is not justifiable under this section if the actor knows that the exclusion of the trespasser will expose him to substantial danger of serious bodily harm.' is unfortunately interpreted by liberal Nebraska judges and Prosecutors to mean 'if you can flee and leave the house, thus leaving the danger behind, and don't, then you have broken the law if you use deadly force.

That's the part the Castle Doctrine laws cover. By law you are not expected to run away.

Steve said...

That's what she said:

As I said the law is ambiguous to most people. However, I believe that the section you are referring to deals with simple trespass, not burglary, robbery, or any kind of possible assault. (You can't shoot the guy for simply walking through your property.) However, even that is open to what a reasonable person would do, and I doubt the guy is walking through my house just because it's a shorter route around the corner. He wants my property or to do harm to me or my family if he's in there. The exception being, perhaps, someone mentally incapacitated in some way (diabetic for example).

Anonymous said...

When I lived in another city, my home was burglarized while I was out of town. When I returned, I never felt the same in that house, knowing that someone had broken into it and taken my belongings.

I live near one of the areas that was targeted. It seems so very bold that these crimes are being committed when people are most likely to be home. In reading blog comments, some homeowners, are wondering what they can do if they happen to catch the intruder in the house. What would happen if a completely unsuspecting, half-asleep woman/child stumbles upon the intruder in the house?

I have been watching the media coverage, which contains virtually no info of substance, general areas affected, and "lock your door" tips. It's hard to believe that so many homes have been affected and there was no info to help with catching the culprit(s).

So I thought I would look at your blog. I was surprised to see the photos and I agree with your comments about the unusual coat and distinctive stocking cap. If there is a reason to keep these photos a secret because you have leads, then I hope that whatever you are doing works. If not, maybe you need to give the photos to the media and ask if they can show them to the public to help you CATCH THE CRIMINAL!!!

Tom Casady said...


I don't run the TV stations or print the paper! We released the series of photos to the media, and I know both local TV stations showed them once on their evening newscasts. The Lincoln Journal Star ran the photo on their website article, but it never made the print edition, for some reason. We featured them front-and-center on our public website, and I linked to those from my blog because (like you) I was a bit frustrated they weren't getting more play.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous person who responded "don't hold your breath Kim." The police department is doing everything they can to find this person or persons and your comment was not appropriate at all. I hope you will make an apology to the chief.

Anonymous said...

Oh kim, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt the poor little policemens feellings. I'm such a naughty boy.