New ‘Soft’ Crime Laws? Pasco Neighbors Take Matters Into Own Hands
On a grass-roots level, most of us would cheer these folks on.
Law enforcement officers do appreciate the hearts of citizens when it comes to helping apprehend a suspect, but caution people to not take matters into own hands.
That appears to be the case from information released by Pasco Police about a crime from Friday, Sept. 3.
According to officers, around 1 AM in the 5900 block of Thistledown, they responded to a report of an alleged argument over property. Upon arrival the learned a 30-year-old Pasco man (whose name was not released) had been "apprehended" by a group of neighbors after he allegedly was seen prowling someone's vehicle and had taken some items.
The homeowner ran outside, began to chase the man, and yelling for help from neighbors, and boy did they rally. Another citizen stepped out in front of the suspect and there was a 'scuffle.' When Police got there, one citizen had a torn shirt, and the suspect a bloody scrape on his arm, and he was on the ground surrounded by angry neighbors.
Based upon the evidence at the scene, Police were able to establish probable cause for the theft, and the man was taken to jail. However, due to the crime being a misdemeanor, and at that specific time limited jail space, the suspect was charged and released. The property was returned to the owner.
Police urge citizens to not confront suspects in this manner because it can often turn into a dangerous situation. Watch out for each other, get as much information as you can especially vehicles, plates, clothing, and pictures if possible.
That's understandable smart advice, but unfortunately with the dozen or more new 'soft' on crime laws passed by legislators this year, it is possible more citizens will take things on themselves, perhaps out of frustration.