Public has a duty to help police solve crimes

Aug. 28, 2013  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.




Every week lately, there seems to be a story, or two, from one or more of our local police departments asking for help identifying a suspect on one crime or another.

That’s not at all usual and has gone on for years, but lately, there seems to be a sharp increase in the number of times police investigators ask the public for help in identifying a person of interest.

It obviously works. Recently a hapless bank robber with what we’re told is a long criminal history, was apprehended within hours of the robbery of a Plymouth Township bank, due to tips from the public who saw his photo in the media. With more and more surveillance photos available as more and more security cameras are installed at businesses, most everyone is being watched nearly all the time.

It is, of course, a little disconcerting for those who have never even entertained a criminal thought to find themselves the target of these cameras in banks, stores, schools, parks, along highways and just about anywhere else.

For those intent on committing some nefarious act, however, these cameras should be a strong deterrent. No matter how complete the mask, when these photos are made public, someone, somewhere almost invariably can recognize some distinguishing feature of a perpetrator. A tattoo was part of the identification of the bank robber, but it can often be something as an individual’s stance or posture. People who know us can recognize us through just about any dis- guise as many criminals are learning the hard way.

More and more, residents in many communities are recognizing their responsibility to help local police officials, whenever they can, with identifying those who have com- mitted crimes. They are not only helping right whatever wrong has been committed, but they are exercising their real civic responsibility to their neighbors, their community, their church and to all the other who could be affected by this or a future crime.

What these individuals with knowledge of these criminals don’t seem to understand is that the future repercussions of allowing this kind of violence to continue, unchecked, in their community are much, much worse than anything they fear.

If these men continue to behave in this lawless manner, how long will it be before an innocent child, a parent or a beloved grandmother is caught in the crossfire and killed. These shootings and killings cannot continue and the silence of witnesses, whether prompted by fear or complacency are aiding and abetting these criminals.

One Inkster detective is sure people would come forward if it were their family member or their friend injured or killed, but when the victims are unknown, the likelihood of witnesses coming for- ward is almost nill.

“It could be and probably will be someone they know or member of their family if this lifestyle and environment of lawlessness and killing continues.

People must speak up, even anonymously, to protect their own families and their own futures.

It’s the right thing to do.

|News Plymouth Township

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