Friday, January 17, 2014

Crime Out of Hand Lately

Although I don’t subscribe to a newspaper, I receive newspapers, plural: I recycle newspapers for people who do subscribe to them. Half a page of a recent Kingsport Times-News consisted of police and court records. Above this half page someone had written “Have you noticed how out of hand crime is, lately?”

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in a big city, but I read this as almost sarcastic. A little statistical analysis of the half-page of reports may explain why. First of all I’d like to mention that the incidents reported went back for as far as five months before the date of publication.

Now, how many of what kind of “crime” was reported:

Kingsport Police Department: 7 drug busts, all on one day, and 1 disorderly conduct.

Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department: 5 traffic violations (including one “driving under the influence,” which this web site agrees is a violent crime).

Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department: 4 failures to appear in court; 5 probation violations; 1 driving under the influence; 1 charge with “introduc­tion in a penal institution, simple possession or casual exchange” of something convicts aren’t supposed to have, which, the object not being identified, might have been a sandwich bag; 2 “statutory rape” cases, in which teenaged girls’ parents complain about the girls’ relationships with slightly older guys; 1 theft.

Scott County Sheriff’s Department: 2 traffic violations, 1 violation of a restraining order.

Wise County Sheriff’s Department: 1 outstanding warrant against a visitor from Ohio, 1 “larceny with intent to sell,” 3 “capias," 1 child neglect by a mother “inhaling drugs,” 1 driving under the influence, 1 property damage.

Lee County Sheriff’s Department: 1 probation violation, 1 shoplifting, 1 assault.

Sullivan County Courts: 4 probation violations, 1 case dismissed.

Hawkins County Courts: 1 “fugitive from justice,” 1 public drunkenness, 1 probation violation, 2 domestic assault cases (apparently one  incident), 1 violation of business regulations, 1 petty theft.

Scott County Court: 1 possession of marijuana, 2 sale of hard drugs, 3 cases where charges of “attempted robbery and property destruction”  were dropped, 1 Kingsport driver found guilty of having an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle, 1 possession of drugs, 2 underage drinkers, 1 charge of “assault amended to disorderly conduct” that got a young man fined $150, 22 violations of motor vehicle regulations, and 2 moving traffic violations.

Wise County Court: 1 failure to perform community service, 1 driving under the influence, 4 traffic violations, 1 failure to appear in court, l charge of property destruction that was dismissed, 1 “breach of the peace” charge dismissed, 4 cases where charges of assault were dismissed (two of those charged appear to be brothers living in the same home), and 1 unlicensed dog running at large.

Lee County Court: 15 violations of motor vehicle regulations and 3 moving traffic violations.

This is indeed a serious indictment of our society. For any society to tax and regulate itself to the point where this kind of time is wasted on victimless offenses is indeed a problem.