Monday, November 22, 2010

"Blood on the door-- that's a sign something's bad behind it."

Three homicides this weekend:
Carlton Sellman, 19, shot in the stomach on Route 40 near Swann Avenue

Correctional officer Sheron/Sharon Jones, 28, shot in the 1700 block of Aisquith Street. Blood on the door of a suspect's home led to a SWAT-team swoop-in at the Coldspring Station apartments, but turns out the blood may be linked to a different homicide. Reckons the Dooce's Jamie Costello: "Blood on the door-- that's a sign something's bad behind it."

Jerry Thomas, 29, 1500 block of Poplar Grove Road


Cham said...

Whew, I'm glad the pesky business of the barricade situation is over. Now that they found that nobody was home at the site of the murder, the Baltimore City Police Department can resume doing what they do best: Complaining about their benefits package. I feel bad for them when they get distracted by criminal activity.

buzoncrime said...

Cham---I appreciate your erudite comments about crime and justice in our fair city (no matter what the evil Kara says/said).

However, I am puzzled: why this tremendous sense of antipathy toward our local constabulary? This has been a constant, though growing, theme of your comments around the net.

Although I pretty much understand your various positions (some of them are good/I even agree with), I was wondering why the hatred of our boys in blue. Is there some particular personal reason you can share? Inquiring minds would like to know!

A sympathetic and devoted reader,

Maurice Bradbury said...

Hey Buz, I meant to ask you.. randomly and appropos of nothing... do you know what kind of psychological screening the BPD performs on prospective officers? Do they have any checks to make sure someone batshiz crazy doesn't join the ranks?

Cham said...

The more research I do on previous cases and the more I listen to people who study the origins and sociology of crime I am beginning to understand that Baltimore's choice of policing methods has much more to do with politics and very little to do with decreasing crime. Politicians like to get reelected and the voters are under the incorrect assumption that "tough on crime" makes us all safer, when all it does is increase people's dependence on crime to earn a living. I suggest attending some of the events by people who study crime at the library, read as much as you can of the entries in the Maryland Judiciary Case Search and attend the community meetings at any of the police districts. You'll walk away completely disheartened.

Cham said...

Oh, and as far as kara is concerned. Let's say she does land a job as a forensic technician in the city crime lab. Any marginally qualified defense attorney will reduce her to a pile of withering blubber if she has to testify as a witness for the prosecution. She's wide open.

buzoncrime said...

mjb---In direct answer to your question, yes, there is a psychological screening process, which is part of the total screening process. It is fairly far along into the selection, and I don't know how terribly effective it is, but it does screen out the worst cases. It consists of an hour-long structured interview with a licensed psychologist, after being administered a series of tests during the hour before that.

Usually, a notation of "not recommended" by the psychologist is the kiss of death for an applicant.

Besides the basic written test, there is a fairly demanding physical agility test--though it is "normed" depending on age and gender. There is the fairly extensive criminal background check and repeated drug testing, along with 100% polygraph (whether or not one believes in its effectiveness). There's a physical, and then the psychological.

When I was on (and it's been a while), about only 7% of applicants actually made it to go into the academy.
This process is fairly consistent with what most police departments do/use.
Does it keep out crazies? I'm sure some of the worst.
However, people change over time, and become ensnared in the stress of the organizational culture, the job, and sadly, too often, alcohol.
Most that make it through, thanks goodness, are reasonably steady, decent individuals.
However, if one is dedicated and hardworking, and ethical, it's a tough way, in the long term, to make a living.

buzoncrime said...

Cham---Now Baltimore's methods of arresting folks are much more nuanced than in previous administration. And doesn't politics dominate almost everything in government?

Bottom line: street crime is, I believe directly related to poverty, social inequality, and drug use/trafficking. Other kinds of crime, like those practiced by smart math/financial people steal a lot more, but don't actually, usually, physically threaten us (till we become homeless, anyway). But the FBI doesn't measure those stats. There are lots of theories and ideas there in the library about crime. Some of them may be correct.

However, the truth is that there are some nasty, mean, violent people out there. So, we hire a bunch of 22 year-olds, put them thru the academy, and give them guns and tell them to go out and protect us. No matter how critical any of us are toward police, the fact is we still need a police force to be available to deal with these clowns. Yep, all the rest is politics.

And, I guess, I agree with you, to some extent, that once you get a serious criminal record, you must go back to crime of some kind to support yourself, because no or few employers will hire you.

The truth is: we don't really know very well how to prevent or reduce crime without resorting to a draconian police state in some respects.

And, yes, talking to criminals, reading their records, and attending community meetings can certainly leave one disheartened. When I was in Southwest, and Northwest, you were lucky to have more than a couple of people at meetings who were under 70.

buzoncrime said...

I agree with your comment about Kara. However, I don't believe Kara actually exists: the writings appear to be the fantasy and meanderings of an adolescent mind.

Yup. I think the chances of he/she getting hired would be slim.

Cham said...

Buz, sorry, I'm not buying so fast into the necessity of a police state. Perhaps you missed the article in the Sun last week. It turns out the longer we entice kids to stay in school the less juvenile crime occurs. This isn't rocket science. Come to Southern's meetings, 200 angry pissed off people.

buzoncrime said...

So, why are these people angry?

Cham said...

A variety of reasons. Some think there aren't enough cops, some think there are too many cops. Some don't like the cops attitude, some don't think the cops are doing a very good job.

buzoncrime said...

Ah, sounds a bit like Athenian democracy! Unfortunately, with the exception of some specific complaints, not very much policymaking evolves out of these meetings, though the police commanders get to network a bit.

Cham said...

We don't expect policy. However, it gets interesting when the police refers to those they arrest as "bad guys". I'm not sure who the "bad guys" are anymore. With their pompous arrogant attitude, I'm starting to think it is the police.

Anonymous said...

Pull the police out of Baltimore. There, problem solved for everyone.