Buffalo Grove police revealed Thursday, November 18, 2015 at a community meeting that there were four burglaries on the north side during a 3-day period in November 2015. With concerns about residential burglaries, more than 40 residents attended a community meeting to discuss residential burglaries with three police department representatives at Buffalo Grove’s Half Day Road fire station.
In June 2013, Buffalo Grove police switched to a secret military-grade encrypted police radio system, which makes it difficult for media and neighborhood watch groups to track crimes in real-time. The police radio system was touted as a system that would make it impossible for criminal offenders to monitor police radio scanners or smartphone apps with the purpose of avoiding capture by police. However, burglary rates have actually increased from 2014 to 2015 in Buffalo Grove. More burglaries have been committed in 2015 in November than were committed during the entire year in 2014.
Buffalo Grove police officer Thomas Derken said 27 burglaries have been committed this year, as opposed to 21 at this time last year. There were a total of 24 in 2014.
Derken said four burglaries occurred November 4, 5 and 6, 2015. Three of the residential burglaries occurred near Stevenson High School.
Lt. Tim Gretz told the crowd that police are being proactive in response to the burglaries, including deploying marked and unmarked cars to residential areas.
“We’re trying to do the best that we can. But we obviously need your help. You know your neighborhood better than we do,” he said. “We need you to be vigilant.”
But April 2014, Buffalo Grove police discontinued their helpful and active police blotter, which listed crimes daily and helped residents realistically understand crime in their community in real-time. The lack of a police blotter, and the lack of a publicly-monitored and accessible police radio system causes delays in awareness or total obstruction of awareness of crime as crimes occur in a community. The resulting police-community disconnect actually makes it easier for criminals to commit crimes because residents are rendered ineffective with delayed, limited and even “sanitized” information. Getting limited information 3-7 days after a crime is committed, makes it difficult for witnesses to remember possible suspicious activity in retrospect. Real-time information is motivating for community residents to be involved in community vigilance.
The lack of real-time police awareness caused by the secret encrypted police radio system actually shuts down awareness in a community, and gives criminals an advantage. The resource of thousands of potential eyes of good citizens are eliminated in the police-community connection.
If criminals are monitoring police radio channels, a crime can be shut down and loss stopped as soon as the criminals hear the dispatch. If police are serious about catching criminals in the act, they can use an encrypted secret side channel or dispatch the call via text message or mobile data terminal in the police car, and use an effective multiple-unit response to outnumber offender(s) and prevent a violent clash with offender(s) or a dangerous pursuit with offender(s).
Buffalo Grove police advise that if there is a suspicious vehicle or person in the neighborhood, residents should call 911 immediately, and a patrol vehicle would respond to the location. However, what helps people recognize a suspicious vehicle, if they don’t know what vehicle the police are seeking? Or, if people are not aware of the burglary in real-time or near real-time, how can they recall even seeing a suspicious vehicle? Details about a suspicious vehicle that was in the neighborhood 3-7 days prior to the revelation by police are not going to be recalled.
Shortly after Buffalo Grove police discontinued their police blotter in April 2014, they released a Geographical Information System (GIS) system, which maps out crimes with extremely limited information. The data is high on categorical information, and very low on details. The GIS map is also NOT mobile friendly. The GIS system is a poorly-designed application that is cluttered with a few categories of icons representing crime without any key or legend to the map. The icons show a phone, different colored automobiles, a masked person, a bag of money, and a notepad. The icons are not engaging for the user.
The icons display a crime report “received time” but don’t explain a time range for when the crime occurred. Using the map is tedious, and The Cardinal couldn’t find any burglaries occurring on November 4th or November 5th (mentioned above) — even knowing to inspect the neighborhoods near Stevenson High School.
Numerous “phone icons” indicate “suspicious person” or “suspicious auto” complaints but don’t provide any details about what was suspicious.
The map doesn’t include the ability to search a date range, or at least provide what date range is being displayed on the map.
The map is also cluttered with features that don’t really apply to crime analysis or awareness. For example, the left menu shows a parcel summary command, but doesn’t provide any command to search for a particular type of crime, date range or other crime-related details.
Buffalo Grove Police Department also has no official police Twitter account and no official police Facebook account. Both social media services are commonly used by police departments locally and nationwide to communicate with their communities.
At the community meeting, Buffalo Grove police offered practical crime prevention advice — emphasizing that burglars target residences when no one is home. He said residents should make themselves a “hard target,” ensuring that doors are locked and lights are on.
Police warned against broadcasting information on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. Revelation of planned trips that leave homes temporarily unoccupied, allows a burglar to plan and target a residence.
Police reminded citizens that burglars do not want to draw attention to themselves with an activated alarm burglary system siren, so even a sticker warning there is an alarm in a house might dissuade a burglar from choosing a residence. However, real-world experience will also reveal that what burglars really desire are a public that is completely unaware — especially a public that is unaware immediately after the commission of a crime when they are fleeing the area. Think how many times you see police racing through town or assembling in a neighborhood. With the secret encrypted police radios, citizens may not know what heppened for days … or might not ever find out what the police activity involved. That can functionally result in a disinterested public that doesn’t expect to receive any meaningful information from the police department. The low expectations result in an ineffective partnership of well-meaning, aware citizens and the police department.
According to Daily Herald writer Steve Zalusky, resident Jim Bertoglio said his experience with police has been positive. Previously someone tried to break into his home when he was out of town and his wife and daughter were at home.
His wife called police, who arrived within minutes. The burglar took off through the backyard.
Bertoglio said a police matron stayed with his family overnight.
“I think they are very good,” he told Zalusky.
See also …
Buffalo Grove Police GIS
IMPORTANT ALERT …
Cardinal Note: As of June 5, 2013 — up to and including the date of this article — police incidents related to the above police agency are not reported in real time or within a prompt time period. Police protecting their realm of investigation and police activity, have chosen to use secret military-grade encrypted radios to withhold their police communications, which were previously open to the public and news media via monitoring of public safety scanning radios — with no known negative results locally.
The delayed knowledge or entirely blacked out knowledge resulting from encrypted police communications may protect certain police operations and investigations, but it also puts the public at risk in situations such as when armed and dangerous offenders are at large and when other similar situations occur, such as when desperate offenders of property crimes are eluding police. In other cases, the delayed or blacked out information inhibits or prohibits the possibility of the public providing early witness accounts before a criminal trail goes cold. Citizens are much more likely to recognize or recall suspicious or criminal activity if they are aware of the criminal incident within minutes or hours of its occurrence. The most serious incident involving dire results would be a trail that is allowed to go cold in the case of child abduction.
The lack of real time information from public police dispatch also weakens an effective neighborhood watch program mostly working to prevent property loss, but also working to prevent possible violent crimes.
Lack of real time information from police dispatch also delays public awareness or eliminates public awareness of general hazards and traffic or other situations in everyday living in an otherwise economically thriving community.
Police have alternate ways to transmit tactical, operational or investigative information, while still keeping their main public dispatch channels open for the best balance of public safety and police safety.
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