Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easy solution

Text messaging is creating a whole new type of police call-for-service, and in pretty significant numbers. I just ran a quick query in our database, and found 103 police dispatches concerning text messages. Here are a few samples of the one-liners:

EX/BABY'S DADDY & VTM KEEP TEXTING EACH OTHER DIST/BOTH TOLD TO STOP
V WANTS KWN PTY TO STOP TEXTING
MUTUAL TEXTING/CALLING BTW 4 PTYS OFC TOLD THEM ALL TO STOP
PTYS TEXTING & THREATENING TO SUE EACH OTHER-TOLD TO STOP OR BE CITED
CALLING & TEXTING REPEATEDLY MAKING DEMANDS
EX ROOMMATE KEEPS CALLING & TEXTING VIC
EX HUSB TEXTING MULT TIMES
V & PR BOTH TOLD TO STOP TEXTING EACH OTHER
V WANTED EX TO STOP TEXTING HER/OFC TOLD HIM TO STOP
V WANTS ESTRANGED HUSB GF TO STOP TEXTING HER
FRIEND OF EXWIFE SENT ANNOYING TEXT MESSAGE
RECEIVED UNWANTED TEXT MESSAGE
EX CALLING/LEAVING TEXT MESSAGES AFTER BEING TOLD TO STOP
VIC ARGUED WITH FRIENDS X-BF AT PARTY/X-BF SENT TEXT MESSAGE ABOUT VIC
V'S EX-FRIENDS GF HAD SENT UNWANTED TEXT MESSAGES TO V
V RECVD HARASSING TEXT MESSAGES FROM HIS COUSIN
NUMEROUS UNWANTED TEXT MESSAGES FROM FORMER CO-WORKER
V RECVD FRM HIS SON UPSETTING TEXT MESSAGES
VIC REC TEXT MESSAGE FROM UNK PTY OF OBSCENE NATURE BY ACCIDENT
EX-BOYFRIEND LEFT OVER 50 TEXT MESSAGES/SAID IS WATCHING V'S HOUSE
V HAD CELL PHONE W/ ADULT CONTENT TEXT MESSAGES ON IT
VIC RECD TEXT MESSAGES FROM SUSP THAT PARENTS DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE

I’ve got an easy solution for most of these people: dump your texting plan. Don't read them. Put duct tape over your screen. Get rid of your cell phone. Call the cops because your ex boyfriend's new girlfriend's being mean to you and calling you bad names. Block the sender.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

With no texting plan, you still receive the texts, but are charged a higher rate for each one received. So, in these cases, dropping the texting plan, the victim would still receive the harassment, but have to pay for the privilege.

A better solution would be if you were allowed to block specific numbers from texting you. But, then cell phone providers could not charge as much, so it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Simply don't text back. Ignore them. Move on. They'll get bored that they aren't aggravating you and will be much more likely to cease texting as well.

Anonymous said...

How about you just don't open the text messages that are from people you don't like. I can't understand when someone has an enemy and they get a text from that person, why they still open it knowing it will be something bad. IJ just wanna tell these people one word....Duuuhhh!

Anonymous said...

Texting seems like a step backward in human communication, so it's never made much sense to me, and I long ago disabled it. I even had my service provider stop sending me those annoying promotional texts for this and that amazingly trendy / useful / ground-breaking new service. I can speak those texted words/acronyms faster than I can key them in, and even more importantly, I can do so hands-free (and keep my eyes on the road) when driving, so it's much safer. Same goes for the incoming communication, I'd rather listen and drive than read and drive.

Some people might have unique circumstances that require texting, but I'm not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Actually most cell phone providers do allow blocking texts from specific numbers. The best way to find out how is to google how to block text messages on your specific cell phone provider.

As modern technology advances, calls for service like these increase with not only text messages but e-mail and instant messaging on the Internet. Instead of using some common sense and ignoring, deleting or blocking these people, the recipient calls the cops.

Grundle King said...

Am I the only one who laughed out loud upon seeing "baby's daddy" in a police report? If so, I will promptly go sit myself in the corner.

I agree that it is totally ridiculous for people to call police on the bulk of these cases. There are a few where maybe the police should get involved, like the man saying he's watching the vic's house...but for the most part, people could handle this through their cell provider.

Anonymous said...

What most of these people and some officers don't realize is that you can text someone from a number of differant websites and put who ever's number on it and it appears to be a text from that number when it is received.

Anonymous said...

My parents have a plan through Sprint. They cannot receive incoming Texts, so yes you can block texts with out having to pay a fee.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's a good idea.

Also, when people get harassing phone calls, they should just get rid of their phones.

If someone vandalizes your property, well, you should not own it anyways. Just get rid of it.

Someone is sending you threats via e-mail? You don't need e-mail anyways.

I understand some people avoided the unabomber by not using US Postal mail.

Drunk driver hits your car? What are you doing driving anyways? Get rid of it.

That girl in the short skirt, she is asking for it!

Really, just because you don't use or understand something does not mean some people don't use it as an essential communication tool.

Drop the blame the victim mentality.

Tom Casady said...

9:06-

I said most, not all. There are certainly some legitimate threats, protection order violations, and crimes occurring via text messages. But for most of these 103 police dispatches, the officers are being asked to referee a ridiculous contest that would not be tolerated by your kindergarten teacher. Ask the officers.

Anonymous said...

A lot of my friends prefer texting. I hate it. I tell them to call me, don't text me. It is really annoying when you have to type on a phone with what you want to say, when you can just call them. I was driving the other day and seen a kid texting with blaring music and dancing in his car all at the same time, swerving all over the road. At every stop light we got to, he was STILL texting. How and the world can you pay attention to the road when you are texting??? People need to save their babys mamma drama, ex boyfriend/girlfriend drama or this person called me a bad name for other people and not the police department! Come on people, use your common sense, you are wasting the dispatchers precious time for REAL 911 reasons!!!! They should get cited for just being IDIOTS!!!!
Kim

Anonymous said...

The Ad Council says "1 in 4 teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting."

So, they've begun a new campaign aimed at "helping teens recognize digital dating abuse and providing them with the tools to initiate a conversation about this issue."

Here's the campaign website, & perhaps a good resource for some of those folks??

Anonymous said...

Chief,

Off topic but, out of curiosity, how does the smoking gun get ahold of things like Joba's mugshot and now famous video??

JIM J said...

A family member (non-related) was cited for DUI. The next day we recieved a text message. It said, "Your nephew was picked up for DUI last night roflmao"
So we did not call the police. It is not against the law to have text messages, even if they are sent from an idiot. Interesting enough, my son moved to Columbus Nebraska to leave the past behind. It sure is evident he is keeping close contact with the boozing loosers.

Tom Casady said...

12:57-

I don't know for sure, but I imagine it's as simple as making a request for a public record and paying the agency-required fee, if any. In Nebraska (probably all States) mugshots are declared to be a public record by the Criminal History Information Act. It's in NRS 29-3521.

The public record/not public record status of a video recording from an arrest is not so clear, since I don't think that is mentioned anywhere in State law. Obviously, if it's used in court, it's part of a public record at that point.

Usually in cases where a demand is made for something like this (or a Freedom of Information Act request), and the agency isn't sure whether they must comply, they confer with their legal counsel.

On a couple of occasions, we've gone to the next level to try to protect something we felt was not a public record, denied the request, and the requestor has followed the process in law, which calls for a determination by the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. I think since I've been chief we are 1-and-1 on those decisions.

Anonymous said...

Casady said; 'I’ve got an easy solution for most of these people: dump your texting plan. Don't read them. Put duct tape over your screen. Get rid of your cell phone. Block the sender.'

If an Officer says this to ANY 'victim' who calls the team Captain or Sergeant and complains, he/she will get written up.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Chief- is the technology getting in the way of common sense here? Rather than waste the time of the officer, the gas, etc. do one of two things:

Do not send an officer to these types of calls unless they are like the ones referenced in you 10:10 AM response.

Or- designate one person (non-officer) at each station to text the offender- official from LPD...that they are to stop or be cited, etc.

Either choice frees up a lot of time for real crime fighting.

Tom Casady said...

3:49-

I agree. If I ran the communications center, lots of things that officers are dispatched to would never make it out of the radio room. Back when the desk sergeant ran the show, I think a lot more things were handled in this fashion than is currently the case. Nobody is willing to take responsiblity enough for just saying "no" (although I guarantee you it does indeed happen), and I can't work 24/7/365.

I will, however, admit that sometimes it takes a little investigation to determine whether it's a type A problem or a type B problem. It's not quite so easy to make that determination when you are in a windowless room in the basement with eight 911 lines ringing.

Tom Casady said...

3:41-

Oh come on, for goodness sake. Are you really that uptight that I can't say what's on everyone's mind in a humorous way in the semi-privacy of my own blog?

And you're wrong. We've all been telling people to ignore unsolicted calls and messages, not to read them, to get a new phone number, and to block phone calls since phones actually had DIALS. That's the standard advice and always has been. In fact, these incident reports almost all document the officer providing exactly these kinds of tips.

I'll admit that "put duct tape over the screen" is not in the usual repetroire, but have you ever heard of HUMOR?

Steve said...

Most of the people I see using cell phones (for texting or voice) are apparently just doing it because they can. The typical conversation (one sided) goes like this, "Hi. Yeah, it's me. I'm in the restaurant with a friend (but you are more interesting than they are). What are you doing? Oh, you're busy? Well, I won't take more than an hour or so of your time. Oh, hang on a minute, I just got a text from someone, and I want to go and read it, but hang on...I'll be right back. It was just so and so with a dirty joke. I'll send it to you. Did you get it? Let me try again. No. Well, I guess I'll have to try later. I'm in the theater now, and this a**hole behind me is complaining about the noise and bright light from my cell. What a jerk. I'll call you again later. When are you going to be busy again."

Tom Casady said...

Steve:

I'm very tolerant of someone checking in with the sitter, getting the grocery list, wishing their sister a happy birthday. But it just drives me absolutely nuts to be behind someone at the checkstand engaged in an aimless, wandering stream-of-consciousness narration with no point or purpose whatsoever. Put the phone down and write the cotton-picking check, for goodness sake.

Anonymous said...

Cotton-picking? For Goodness sake? Can you say that Chief? ;-)

These whiners have made you start sounding like Dr. Tom O.

Anonymous said...

9:06 AM ANYWAYS? No blaming your English teacher for that.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

Here's some tape you can give them to use Chief.

Anonymous said...

easy for you to say...we can't block a # from texting. Look up the technology, it doesn't exist: surprisingly.

Anonymous said...

@ April 11, 2009 7:12 AM

Go to Google and search 'block text messages *******' (replace ******* with your carrier name) and it should tell you how to block text messages. I suppose not all carriers may allow this but I think most do.