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Friday, November 11, 2011

Crime, News and Perception

Yesterday officers responded to the report of a robbery and stabbing. A couple of news outlets found out about the call and were chasing it down.  Our Public Information Officer, Jim Hansen was called by the media and he requested they hold tight while he talked with investigators. Investigating officers found inconsistencies in the victim's story.  A review of video and the other evidence clearly indicated things did not happen as initially reported.  Investigators discovered the victim had a mental health history and had attempted suicide several times recently.  By the end of the day, investigators believed the stabbing was self inflicted and the robbery did not happen and they hooked the person up with mental health help.

Now consider if the media had covered the story based on what they heard on the scanner (and yes, this happens all too often).  The headline would be, "Person stabbed, robbed in Duluth."   I would say "here we go again."  Crime on the rise, fear for your safety, violent crime every where, run for the hills, would be the theme that many take from the story.  The reality, the crime did not happen.  The report was false and the person stabbed them self due to a mental health crisis.  In the past, when we have had similar type stories do you think the story is ever corrected?  No....The result; an increase in fear of crime.

I have to point out, there have been a fair amount of homicides this year in our area.  Superior, Virginia, Pine County, Sawyer County, and others have all had recent homicides.  How many homicides has Duluth had in 2011 to date?


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