The third Wednesday of every month is a furlough day for the San
Francisco Superior Court, so in honor of their shortened week, I will
have a shortened column today.  I’m well-prepared for such a thing,
having recently completed my first ever year on furlough as an employee
of the California State University system.  My pay was cut by ten
percent, despite the fact that my workload did not decrease.  So it’s
safe to say: furloughs not so much to my liking.  But as a sign of
solidarity with those who work for the Superior Court, I give you It’s
Criminal, the slightly abridged version.

Criminals, of course, don’t take furlough days; they’re out there
day in, day out, tirelessly committing crimes and causing a ruckus,
like this first couple, whose story is brought to us by our friends at
the Central Station
According to this week’s newsletter, shortly after 11:00 a.m. on June
7, officers “were approached by a citizen who advised them that a
couple was engaged in a sexual act at the nearby laundromat.  Officers
investigated and found two individuals seated inside the premise that
fit the descriptions given by the reporting party.  A computer check
revealed that the female subject was a parolee at large and a warrant
had been issued for her arrest.  She was booked.”

Yep–sex in the laundromat.  Before noon.  Y’know, doing laundry at
the laundromat is bad enough: You have to round up all your clothes,
towels, bed linens, stuff them all into your laundry cart, leave the
comfort of your apartment and head on over to your local wash station,
hoping to God the change machine will be working again…only to be
thwarted by two individuals getting amorous between the dryers and the
soap dispensary.  Everything about this story makes me want to make a
habit of bringing a canister of Lysol wipes with me to the laundromat,
along with my laundry soap and fabric softener.  I just want to wipe
down every surface there before I touch anything; but I’m kind of
germaphobe like that.

Besides grossing me out, though, this tidbit also highlights a
common theme in our Station Captain newsletters: Someone alerts the
police to a crime in progress, and when the police respond, it turns
out that the person committing that crime is also wanted for one, two,
or even several other crimes in the area.  Case in point: in the
Ingleside district this past week, a shop owner called police to report
that she was being threatened by an “aggressive panhandler.”   When the
responding officer arrived, he “located the suspect and took him into
custody.   The suspect also had a warrant for his arrest.”   I think
“The suspect also had a warrant for his arrest,” is probably the most
common sentence in the police captain newsletters.  Recidivism,
people–it’s alive and well.

Repeat offenders are so common, in fact, that, according to the
Central Station captain, it is “more than likely” that “all the
burglaries in the district” are being committed by just “2 or 3”
individuals.  Because of this hunch, the Captain is certain that “if we
can catch at least one, it will have a significant impact.”  The
Central Station has seen more than its fair share of thievery; this
week’s newsletter highlights the fact that the neighborhoods in the
district “continue to be plagued by burglaries, […] both commercial
and residential.”  But the powers that be think this “plague” is the
work of maybe “2 or 3” suspects.  This may be a good time, then, to hook you up with the tip line info. for the SFPD,
in case you happen to know or see one of these “2 or 3” individuals who
are stealing everything that isn’t nailed down in the Central district.

Sometimes, a suspect is not arrested for other crimes during the act
of committing yet another transgression; sometimes the person is
already in custody when he or she is tied to a string of other crimes,
as was the case when Sergeant Pera of the Central Station used “great
follow-up and DNA matches […] to connect an individual to several
burglaries.”  According to the Central Station newsletter, “It wasn’t
difficult to find the culprit as he was already sitting in jail. 
Sergeant Pera booked him on the burglaries. Great work!”

I don’t want to discredit Sergeant Pera here; I mean, good on him
for thinking, “Maybe this guy we just arrested is also responsible for
these other, very similar crimes that occurred around the same time.” 
But I think, “Great work!” is maybe a little over the top with the
praise here.  After all,  the suspect “wasn’t difficult to find”
because he “was already sitting in jail.”  It doesn’t get more
convenient than that.

there’s a lesson to be learned in this
week’s installment of It’s Criminal, it’s that from the looks of
things, people rarely commit just one crime, cross that off their
bucket list and get right back to living the life of the law-abiding. 
No…instead they fill their days with all sorts of criminal activity,
without regard to warrants already out for their arrest.  Many of us
think that the way to fight crime is to prevent it in the first place,
by strengthening our schools and our social services.  But that takes
so much time and effort, not to mention those things need to be
accomplished without furlough days.  I’m exhausted just thinking about
it.  Better to arrest whoever we can, however we can,and hope that it’s
just “2 or 3” individuals screwing things up for everyone else.

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