Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vigilante justice isn't the answer

As I’ve said before, I know this is a very frightening time for residents of the Waldo and Brookside areas, especially women living alone. But that does not mean it is OK to put yourself at risk and attempt to take justice into your own hands.

Someone did just that last night and almost got killed. The man thought he saw someone who resembled the description of the serial rapist who has attacked five women in the Waldo and Brookside areas. That man followed the person he thought was the rapist into Kansas City, Kan. The man being followed eventually got out of his car and shot at the man following him. Police took the shooter into custody but have no reason to believe he is the serial rapist.

Being a vigilante is not safe for anyone. If you see someone suspicious, CALL POLICE. Police undergo thousands of hours of training and have years’ worth of experience to deal with these situations. The average resident does not. They put themselves at extreme risk trying to deal with suspected criminals on their own. Police will respond to your call as quickly as possible to deal with the situation.

And while we encourage everyone in the Waldo and Brookside areas to be on alert for the rape suspect, we do not want terror and panic to set in. It leads to irrational actions just like what happened last night. If anything, we want the people in these neighborhoods and throughout the city to feel empowered, not afraid. Track crime reports in your neighborhood. Attend a personal safety class. Get involved with your neighborhood association, become acquainted with everyone who lives around you, and look out for each other. Know that you have a highly trained and dedicated police force working around the clock to protect you. These calm actions will lead to real justice.

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