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Councilmember Urges Residents to Call Police on Suspicious People in Their Neighborhood

After a daylight home burglary on his block, Councilmember Arthur Sharpe Jr. is urging residents to report any suspicious activity to police.

Councilmember Arthur Sharpe Jr. (Third Ward) had a message for University City residents at Tuesday night's community police meeting.

"If you see anybody on your street, that you don't know and you think they might be strange...call the police."

Sharpe made his comments after learning that earlier in the day Tuesday that a home on his block was burglarized. He lives on Willow Tree Lane.

The burglar was brazen, breaking into the home in broad daylight, in full view of people in the neighborhood. University City Police Captain Carol Jackson said one neighbor called police after seeing the perpetrator walk out of a home carrying a television.

Sharpe said by the time police arrived, the burglary had already occurred, and "some items had been extricated from the house."

Sharpe said residents should not feel foolish about calling the police if they see something suspicious in their neighborhood. He said he's not concerned about those people who will say they are being  harassed if a resident calls police on them. "I have a statement for that, tough," he said. 

Jeff Brandt March 30, 2011 at 05:39 PM
What happened to this man is terrible, but anytime someone you don't know is on your street, call the police? That sounds extreme. If someone actually looks like they're committing a crime, go for it, but I don't think being paranoid is a good thing, and police need to be available for when there are actual problems. Once I had the police called on me simply for being 16 and running down the street to my car after viewing the street sign. I was call someone for directions (my friend and I were lost), and my car happened to be parked next to a used car lot. Apparently some nosy neighbor imagined that I had stolen a car stereo and called the police on me. Imagine my surprise when I had done nothing wrong but had police and undercover cops coming at me from all sides.
Benjamin Israel March 30, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Back when I was about 20 years old, late one night, I was helping a friend move a television and some other stuff into his apartment in the Loop. The stuff belonged to his grandmother who had just died. A U.City Police officer questioned us. He was polite and in no way harassed us. He was satisfied with our explanation. Being white may have helped. On the other hand, calling the police just because you see someone you don't know on your street is a bit much. If friends visit me, I would like them to feel welcome. An African-American friend of mine was once harassed by the police in West County when he was changing a flat tire on his car after attending a class there. A woman who worked in the building called the police to report that he was stealing the car, even though he had just left a class there. Two officers confronted him with guns drawn. First cop, "What are you doing?" My friend, "Changing a flat tire." Second cop, "You know, he IS changing a tire." My friend was pissed. When he heard that a woman in the office complained, he went inside with the police officers to confront her verbally. The incident made him feel less welcome there. Part of a police officer's job is making law-abiding citizens feel welcome.
Burl Beavers March 30, 2011 at 07:23 PM
I guess I'm one of The "nosy" neighbors. The people in any neighborhood have the Right (and should) be aware of what is happening around them for their own protection and THEIR neighbors. This does not mean call the cops when you see a truck stopping at your neighbors house That has UPS on the side. But, if you see something that does not appear to be normal or makes you nervous, Call the police and let them sort it out. That is their job, and they do it very well. The can't be "every where at the same time" so it is up to US to "project" that umbrella of safety ourselves. Sorry about your having been scared by the police. Glad the police got there rapidly.
Jeff Brandt April 04, 2011 at 02:40 AM
So basically, the majority of us should live in fear of police accusing us of crimes in order for a few busy-bodies to feel better knowing they called the police on someone who they actually didn't see do anything wrong.
APS221 April 04, 2011 at 10:33 PM
I know the quote from Sharpe, "If you see anybody on your street, that you don't know and you think they might be strange...call the police" is a bit extreme. However, there is nothing wrong with calling the police when you see something you feel is wrong or suspicious. A similar incident in Town & Country led to the arrest of two burglars (http://townandcountry-manchester.patch.com/articles/police-catch-town-and-country-burglary-suspects). Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with the burglary in University City.

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