Editor's Note: Telling you where those bad guys are

By Richard Wiens, The Triplicate November 17, 2011 02:27 pm

Somewhere in today’s newspaper are the weekly excerpts from the call logs of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department.

You can read them as a litany of community dysfunction, or as informative hints as to where the bad guys operate.

Actually, they’re both.

Go anywhere and read a list of the calls for help and you’ll wonder a bit about the underpinnings of civilization. Domestic violence. Vandalism. Neighborhood disputes. Shoplifters. Out-in-the-open drug sales and use. Indecent exposure. Fights. Break-ins.

Maybe you’re just curious about why that police car was parked down the street the other day. Perhaps you wonder how our local patrol officers spend their days. But it’s the last item on that list, property crimes, that provides the most sobering reminder that we’re all at risk.

While the statistics fluctuate from year to year, the Sheriff’s Office is saying it has experienced a significant increase in reported burglaries lately. Not so with the Police Department, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a city problem. After all, most of what we all consider Crescent City is actually unincorporated Del Norte County.

Read the call logs and you’ll see that plenty of those break-ins are happening in town.

Some of the burglars have gotten pretty brazen, breaking into houses and practically taking up residence. Others smash through a door or window and grab what they can quickly find. Either way, they’ve likely spent some time in the area casing their target. That’s why police urge residents to phone in reports of suspicious people in their neighborhood.

That was one of the messages authorities delivered to an audience of more than 100 concerned citizens Monday night at the fairgrounds. There’s a report about that event on the front page today.

There’s been plenty of coverage of the burglary upswing in the Triplicate lately: Sophisticated break-ins in northeast Crescent City that led to the formation of a new Neighborhood Watch and some subsequent arrests. The overview article in last Saturday’s edition. And the arrests of two pairs of suspects in separate burglaries reported Tuesday.

We’re not trying to panic you, but it is time for all of us to get more vigilant. We’ll be taking a closer look at local burglary statistics in an upcoming article.

You can help us help you: If you know about a fresh break-in anywhere in Del Norte, drop us a note at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Overview stories with statistics are great, but this is also a battle to be fought day to day, edition to edition.

An unintended sermon

One charming aspect of newspapering is that there are endless ways to make mistakes in print. I’ve been in the business for 32-plus years, and every time I think I’ve seen them all, a new one comes along.

In the process of producing pages, editors often begin with a previously published page because it contains all the proper templates needed for the new page. So it was that the last line of a Nov. 8 column got inadvertently picked up and added as the last line of the From the Publisher’s Desk column on Tuesday’s Neighbors page.

Michele Thomas’ account of adopting a dog took a rather highfalutin twist when this line got added at the end: “I guess that’s how we learn to practice what we preach.”

The publisher didn’t ask me to set the record straight, mind you. But the fact is, she did take in a dog that had been languishing at the shelter for 28 months, and it was only because of an editing mistake that she wound up sounding preachy about it.

No good deed goes unpunished.