Tuesday, May 20, 2008
When You Can Only "Unofficially" Report Crime to 911
I admit that I was at first a bit judgmental when leaving for work last week and I noticed that your car had been broken into while parked near my house. Peering through through the broken window I could see clothing and CDs thrown around the car. Despite your DC plates you didn't seem to know the #1 rule when parking a car in DC--Do Not Leave Anything Out While Parking in DC or Thieves Will Think Your Coat/Blanket/CD Case/Cigarette Pack Is Hiding Your Purse /Lap Top/Credit Card/8 Ball.
Later that day when I returned from work I was alarmed to discover that your car was parked in the same place, still unsecured, although it didn't appear that anything else had been taken.
Being a Good Citizen, I decided to call 911. Surely the police or someone can run the plates, contact the owners and urge them to secure their car before more was taken or the car itself stolen, right?
911: Police, Fire, Medical Emergency
Herb of DC: Well its not an emergency [nervous laugh] but a car was broken into near my house and has been sitting there all day.
911: Is this your car?
Herb of DC: No it is parked next door.
911: Can you let your neighbors know?
Herb of DC: It's not their car either. I've never seen this car before.
911: (long pause) Well what are your trying to do.
Herb of DC: Can't I report that the car has been broken into?
911: Not officially.
Herb of DC: Well can't someone come out, find who the owners are and contact them?
911: I'll send the next available car out. You are at NNNN NNth St NW?
Herb of DC: Yes but...
Crap. Does this really require the next available cops to stop chasing murderers or drug pushers to ring my doorbell? What role was I supposed to play when the police arrived beyond unofficially pointing to the car like some deranged, auto-crazed Vanna White? However, since it was "American Idol/Dancing with the Stars Results" night, I would be awake all the way to 10:00 pm anyway so I popped open a six pack and waited.
At 10:00 pm Marrissa was gone and Sayesha was soon to be toast so I headed to the 3rd floor to bed, leaving the front light on hoping that would deter any thieves. If someone did ring my doorbell the dogs would wake me. Marissa and the six pack were finished but I wasn't.
The next morning I noticed that the car was still there but it didn't appear that anything else had been taken.
Later that day I was Gladys Kravitzing out the window and saw the car owners standing by the car. I ran outside and apologized and explained that I had tried to call the police to get them to do something.
The woman said "Fortunately nothing was taken."
Oh I disagree. Officially.