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lack of criminal descriptions

I have asked this question in the past, but it quickly became a racist question for some. In the time since, there have still been very few news stories that give a description of the person police are looking for. The news outlets have no problem giving us the description of the car they were in, including make, model and color. When it comes to describing the criminals, sometimes we're given the sex, but nothing else. With all the types of crimes we've never seen before, especially on the Mag Mile (or other usually touristy / safer spots), why not help the police, instead of worrying about offending some groups?
Responses (8)
  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 08:49 AM - #permalink
    An older white male demanding that news outlets point out when black males are accused of crimes seems racist. Repeating the same question over and over again on a message board doesn't make it any less racist. The person's race does not make them commit the crime. It does not matter to the story. John Wayne Gacy did not kill kids because he was white. There was zero reason for the news reports to say "white male Gacy murdered..." So there is zero reason for a reporter to say "black male Jones murdered..." in a story.

    By the way, the police are not asking for any help from the public in trying to find the criminals in some 60-secong-long TV news story. That is yet another reason why detailed descriptions are not needed.

    Nobody is calling you a racist Polka Rudy. Just that your repeated question is coming off in that manner, whether you are aware of it or not. (I'm assuming that you are not aware of it.)
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 09:20 AM - #permalink
    On the Orange and Red line over the last few days, two victims have been struck and had their phones/ tablets taken. WBBM failed to give any description whatsoever. Now I don't need to be the police to want to know the description of the individual, I would like it to keep my self aware.

    Therefore if I'm on the train, and someone matching that description begins casing me, I can maintain visual on them before they decide to strike me and take my possessions.

    This info actually matters in such situations, and don't give me you should always be aware, yes you should, but in real life you may tend to look at your smart device and lose awareness longer then you should. Thusly I would like to have a better awareness of the possible individual who has attacked twice already.

    Not difficult.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 10:17 AM - #permalink
    Larz, how do you know I am an older white male? Why do you assume I am asking for better descriptions of black people? I am asking for better descriptions of the criminals, be they white, black, or green. I also disagree with you that police don't want help in finding criminals, as many of these news stories ask for help in looking for criminals who were seen driving away in a blue 2003 Honda. A description of the offender(s) is also the first question police ask. By not including a better description of a criminal, I'm sure you're not saying we should just assume they are a particular race, right? ALL victims of crime want their criminals caught, especially the most violent ones. Again, my question to the "professional" news organizations is, "Why"? Hopefully, one will be bold enough to actually answer, instead of hiding in the weeds of political correctness.

    Also, thanks for "assuming" I am not a racist, Larz. I was a 30 year professional who wrote many flavors of stories for a living, and leaving out the most important piece of a description of a wanted person will always goad me. It is sloppy at best and not in the public's interest at worst.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 03:40 PM - #permalink
    >>>>>>Larz, how do you know I am an older white male?<<<<<<

    LOL! Like there are black and hispanic gangbangers using the nickname "Polka Rudy" in the streets. It's not too hard to figure out Polka dude.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 04:38 PM - #permalink
    LOL! Like there are black and hispanic gangbangers using the nickname "Polka Rudy" in the streets.


    Don't assume. When I first moved to Milwaukee there was a street gang that was tagging everything with "POLKA". After the police caught them and shut the gang down nobody was over 25 and a lot were teens. It was mixed white/latino if I remember.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 27 2017, 01:46 AM - #permalink
    The truth of the matter is that the decision to exclude certain information comes down to a political one. The police don't have a problem broadcasting that information as a matter of course because it is useful information. If you don't want to purchase a police band radio, simply go to: http://www.broadcastify.com and there you can select from FIRE, EMS, AVIATION, and POLICE. You can choose any local area, in Chicago it's broken down by police district, or a group of slower districts. Many suburbs are stand alone, others are grouped geographically. They are always including race indicators, and if you listen closely to the dispatchers, you'll hear how much they care for their radio partners. Just this week I heard one dispatcher assign a policeman to investigate the following: "Caller reports man armed with a machete in the street threatening people. Male Black, dark hoodie and jeans. You all be careful." People that make their livelihood in race relations [or lack thereof] pressure the mayor and county officials into downplaying that information so as to better manage the narrative and obfuscate the truth that 2% of the population routinely preys on the other 98%.
    Before anyone attempts to pigeonhole me, listen for an hour or two. Check out both a sleepy area like the NW corner of the city, and then listen to the 7th or the 11th district of Chicago.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 27 2017, 08:26 PM - #permalink
    Let me put to rest the idea the media never give suspect descriptions. We do. But there has to be something about description that renders it non-generic.

    If I were to report police are looking for a suspect who is a white/black/Latino man of medium height and build between 25 and 30 years old, that description is so generic it would make tens of thousands of men "suspects" in the minds of people. Makes no sense to put it out there.

    You *are* likely to hear descriptions of suspects, including mention of race, if there's an identifying feature: has a tattoo of a diamond on the side of his neck, has a scar under her left eye, etc.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, May 01 2017, 03:17 PM - #permalink
    Not sure when a description became to be racist.... discussing race is not racism... but society has been trained to be so jumpy when it is discussed for superficially extrapolated reasons.
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