As reported in Friday’s New Mexican, the city had a minor (very minor) cause for brief celebration on Wednesday when for the first time in 2011 not one person called police to report a burglary in the city of Santa Fe.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t crime or that there wasn’t any burglary that occurred even, but for the only calendar day the entire year so far, not one new burglary report came into the Santa Fe Police Department.
There was on Wednesday, however, one report of a downtown purse snatching that we reported in the Police Notes section of Friday’s paper.
The victim of that purse snatching then took to the power of the pen to voice her gripes with the police department in a Letter to the Editor that also happened to publish on Friday. Here is what she wrote:
On my birthday, Nov. 30, a youth, running, grabbed the purse off my shoulder as I was walking by the Santa Fe Community Convention Center arm-in-arm with a friend who had invited me to lunch. The police took written reports from two observant bystanders, a UPS driver and a tribal lawyer; plus of course mine and that of my friend.
When I called the investigation phone number and tried to give my case number, I was interrupted.
“Your name? When did this happen? Name of officer?”
“Lopez,” I said. “Who?” “Celestino Lopez,” I replied. “Oh, Lopez, he’s not handling the case ma’m.”
I asked to speak to the person handling my case. “He won’t have the case for four or five days.”
“So,” I asked, “the thieves have four to five days to run away?” “Yes, ma’m.”
“May I speak to the chief, please.” “The chief of police, ma’m?” “Yes!”
“They’re all out to lunch.”
Simone Swan, Santa Fe
And to be fair, there are some reader comments that come to police defense on The New Mexican’s website.
Evidently, Ms Swan thinks it is improper for the Chief to eat lunch. She also thinks that Detectives are just sitting around at the police station waiting for a purse snatching case to be rushed in to them via courier.She should know that with the increase in crime over the past two years, the Santa Fe Police are doing twice as much work with the same number of Officers. Right now, City residents are wringing their hands over a proposed property tax increase, part of which would allow for an addition to the Police station so that the Department can expand in the future with our growing city.Money for more officers has been nixed due to budget woes, so until the residents of Santa Fe are willing to pay for more Police protection, stories like Ms. Swans will continue to make news. — From emilykoy
I don’t know the details in SFPD, but I share Emily’s view. Police services are expensive and represent a huge part of any city’s budget. You want better police services, you have to pay. — From R. Thomas Berner