Smith: Predictive policing vs. criminals

March 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

To the best of my knowledge “Operation Mario Lopez” is still under way, which means Lopez is still on the loose and possibly armed and dangerous. As most of us now know, Lopez was one of several people implicated in a series of burglaries. While some of his alleged confederates were captured, Lopez remained at large until turning himself in to police several weeks back.

Then, for reasons still unknown, he disappeared again. Maybe he removed the ankle bracelet he was required to wear after making bail, or maybe the bracelet ran out of battery power. In any respect, Lopez was once again out and about — until he dropped by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in. He waited for a few minutes and then left. The county jail has now changed its procedures to make sure that if someone wants to surrender, a person is available to help out.

If nothing else, however, Lopez has sure exposed a few flaws in our local criminal justice system.

Lopez is also a Daily Democrat Facebook “Friend.” He wrote recently that “N im not armed or dangerous they just wanna cap my a– when they see me n when they do theyre guna act like they did the community a favor by getting rid of a menace in ur town.” I wrote back that Lopez should turn himself over to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office. Kimberly Lalley, who was arrested on suspicion of burglary, also wrote in to say in part: “Lol you people are dumb maybe u should get ur info right before u go writing articles about s— that is so far off u look stupid. F— them Mario Lopez turning urself in aint gonna make s— better, cause them b—- a– cops just r mad cause they look stupid.”

Meanwhile, burglaries continue. There was apparently a raid the other day of a location where stolen property was recovered. No information on the WPD’s website just yet about who, if anyone, was arrested. There have also been several stolen vehicle and bicycle reports.

A person reported on March 5 that one of her neighbors had their beach cruiser stolen out of the garage and a police officer said the neighbor was the fifth person that morning making a theft report in the area, which was near Southwood Drive and Cottonwood Street.

The police department did report the arrest on Monday morning of Leandro Gonzalez, 20, on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle. On Sunday, around 8:55 a.m., Felicia Tanai Gomez, 22, was taken into custody for receiving known stolen property.

The police did report Monday afternoon that officers have been “responding to a large number of vehicle and residential burglaries over the past few months” and offer a series of “tips” to prevent crimes from occurring.

The tips include stuff you’ve probably seen before such as “making your home look occupied” and difficult to break into like locking outside doors and windows before leaving for the day or at night.

Leaving lights on when you leave you’re home is also a good idea, but since we’re all trying to save energy, make sure the lights are solar powered. (OK, part of that “tip” was from me, but it’s still a good idea). You can also keep some lamps on automatic timers. And if you’re traveling, make arrangements to have mail and deliveries of things like packages and newspapers, to be held or picked up by a friend or neighbor.

In terms of vehicle theft, the obvious prevention efforts are still the best, such as making sure the car is locked, keeping valuables out of sight or in the trunk, and parking in a well-lighted areas.

As always, report anything that looks suspicious by calling 666-2411. Save those 911 calls for real emergencies.

It’s now been six months since Woodland spent $25,000 to purchase “Predictive Policing” software that is supposed to give police an idea of where crimes are most likely to occur. It’s probably too early to determine whether the program is doing any good, but if the level of burglaries, vehicle thefts and other criminal acts continues at its current pace, maybe the city can hire Lopez to act as a consultant?

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