Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy trails

I am a regular user of Lincoln's extensive network of recreational trails, normally in the pre-dawn hours.  As such, I am particularly annoyed at crime on the trails, a subject that has been addressed on my blog on a few past occasions.

Recently, I have been quite concerned about a series of indecent exposures and a third degree sexual assault that occurred along the MoPac trail in north Lincoln.  I've seen this pattern before, and it was eerily reminiscent of past cases.  Our Crime Analysis Unit published a bulletin on the current pattern a couple weeks ago, and a lot of effort has been underway to catch this offender.

As is often the case, a citizen came through with a key tip this week. It  is a good example of the importance of getting this kind of information out to the public via the news media. Alerted to the trend by news coverage, the tipster recognized the description of the suspect from an earlier contact, and notified LPD.  The case has now been cleared with an arrest, and life on the trail is a little happier as a result.


Happy Day said...

Does the city (or LPS) have a good citizen award?

A little crime stoppers money would be well spent.

Steve said...

News tip for perverts: Don't loan your cell phone to someone to call the police.

Anonymous said...

These pervs need a face, mouth, and nostrils full of pepper spray applied by their unfortunate victims.

Anonymous said...

Open carry of cell phone cameras will reduce crime.
Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Oh, and speaking of pervs, I wonder why none of the news stories mention this earlier conviction when he was a young adult of 22. If his victim in that one (surely the original charge was incest, but with a plea deal...) wasn't a juvenile, I'll eat a bug. 20 years later, still the same, wired all wrong.

I think that earlier conviction would be extremely relevant to the current case. I also wonder how he got away with no jail time, but four years of probation. Lazy reporters?

Steve said...

Gun Nut:

Open carry may deter them, but concealed carry will more likely stop them. :)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Director,
if this was a concern on an open trail, then how can tunnels be approved around the North 14th Street round-a-bout? Given the number of sex offenders in the area and the number of school aged children that would be using the walkway, this would seem to create an added potential danger to the citizens of Lincoln.

Tom Casady said...


All of these cases occurred on open sections of trail, and none had anything to do with proximity to residences of registered sex offenders. These offenders in these cases I linked in this post all lived a considerable distance from the crimes they committed.

I don't have any evidence that an offender would be more likely to plan an attack in an underpass. My sense is that criminals want to leave themselves plenty of options for escape, in the event that their initial route is blocked, so they avoid enclosed areas where the sudden appearance of an unexpected pedestrian or cyclist might result in a rapid reversal of fortune. I note that in one of these cases, the attacker got his tail kicked by his intended victim, and ran away before she could administer a more significant beat down.

In any event, the far greater risk to a school-aged child is being mowed over by a coffee-drinking, hair-combing, text-messaging, tooth-brushing speeder. I think we stand a better chance of keeping the underpasses and the kids in them safe then we do of getting the motorists to knock off the bad driving habits.

I can't tell you how many pedestrians--kids and otherwise--use those underpasses at 24th and J, 84th and Old Cheney,70th and Holmes Park, 48th and Normal, 27th and A, 35th and Pine Lake, and the 501 building, but it's a lot. I don't know of any case where someone has been approached or victimized in one. I can tell you this, nobody has ever been struck by a car making a right turn on red in a pedestrian underpass. If the choice is an at-grade crossing of a humongous intersection or a pedestrian underpass, I'll go with the percentages, personally.

Steve said...

I must have missed the tooth-brushing post. I hope that is the case. Otherwise, my memory is worse than I thought. Do you suppose he had been drinking and recognized you? Maybe he thought he could brush away the alcohol smell.

Good point about the sex offenders and where they tend to strike, or not strike. It seems to back up my opinion that the laws concerning where they live are pretty much useless, or worse.