1. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    Question about how the police respond to a breaking and entering.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JimS, Mar 24, 2020.

    If someone calls the police to report a breaking and entering and then closes officer to the scene responds to it, let's say the officer got there, and then the suspects were gone, and the homeowner who called is okay.

    If no other officers arrived yet, can the officer call the others off, saying it's fine and then handle it himself from there, and take the report as well as look around, or would the others have to come for any reason?
     
  2. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    I worked for 9-1-1 handling calls and doing police dispatch for a while, so this is based on my experience, but you have to keep in mind that different towns have different policies, staffing levels, etc.

    If you're talking about someone who is home and there's another person trying to get in unlawfully, that's going to get two officers at a minimum even if the offender is thought to have left the area before the first cop arrives. (The area that I worked had one officer per car). They're going to want to check the building and nearby area to make sure that the offender isn't, say, hiding under the back porch or in the boat like the Boston Marathon bomber was.

    If the caller has come home and discovered that their house has been broken into but they come across as reasonably certain that the crime isn't fresh, like by claiming they've already looked through the house by themselves or something, it might get one car/officer just to take the report. However, if there's any doubt and the manpower is available, they'll want to send two people for the same reasons as above. A jimmied front door could be a desperate burglar still in the basement.

    Also, depending on the jurisdiction and the tax base, you might get a detective coming along to do things like dust for prints, look for footprints and such. Or you might not. One of the departments in my area was a very well-off city whose residents had high expectations of their police department and demanded the white-glove treatment at all times. Vandalism to a lawn gnome would get photos taken of the damage.

    One of the others was a predominantly low-income city where a substantial number of the residents were less than happy to see the police and only called when a rival gang did something egregious, like set a car on fire or something. In that department even if the cops had wanted to send a detective for a routine burglary they wouldn't have been able to, as both the department's detectives were usually tied up on things like homicides or armed robberies.

    So where there's a potential issue of officer safety you're always going to get two cops. What happens after that is dependent on the budget and expectations of the residents.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on how busy they are. I've seen four cruisers show up for a simple drunk and disorderly before. Other times, you'll wait 15 minutes for one officer to respond to an assault. And like Iain said, it really depends on the jurisdiction, area of town, the nature of the complainants, etc. For story purposes, though, I'm sure your single officer can do his thing just fine.
     
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  4. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    Oh okay thanks, these answers help a lot. If a detective were to show up and dust, and do all those things, how long would that take about, before the cops would pack up and leave?
     
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  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For a robbery? You might be waiting awhile. There aren't many forensic units available, particularly in rural areas. And detectives don't dust every surface in a house for a robbery. They might dust around a safe that was broken into, or around a door handle/window jam is one were clearly identified as an area of entry. You'd be surprised, though, how many surfaces are completely useless for collecting finger prints.
     
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  6. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    Oh okay thanks. Well how long will the wait be for someone to show up then? Since it's at night, would it be the next morning? The person who has broken in, is actually a top priority suspect, or the police believe it's the same person in another big crime, so if it's more of a priority suspect, how long would it be on average for the detective to get there?
     
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  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's fiction, dude. Pick a time frame and roll with it. Does it really matter how long it takes the detective to show up so long as what the detective does is interesting and and narratively compelling? The reader isn't going to care.
     
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  8. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    No it doesn't matter, I was just wondering in how much can I push it before the reader doesn't buy into it. :)
     
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  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If your readers are fixating on the logistic technicalities of various law enforcement units' response times you have failed to adequately distract them with an interesting.

    Don't worry about it. Just write it. Readers will believe just about anything these days.
     
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  10. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    You've gotten me curious now!

    Would it matter what was stolen? I assume that if the home owner had registered weapons in his house the police might assign it a higher priority than if it was just a regular Joe that had a t.v. stolen?

    I'm just guessing.

    There is one other aspect that might get a high priority. Bear with me....

    In Canada, a man by the name of Colonel Russell Williams was convicted of several sexual assaults (Canada does NOT have a crime called "rape" - it was removed from our Criminal Code in 1983 and replaced with sexual assault) and murders. After he was caught, they discovered that he had been operating as a "peeping Tom" and breaking into women's houses and stealing their underwear.

    Criminal profilers and detectives should know in 2020 that break-and-enters where women's underwear is stolen, especially in an area where a rapist is active could be related. I would assume that this would get more attention from law enforcement.

    Of course, the woman has to file a report and honestly explain that one of the things stolen was underwear. If it's the only thing, it'll probably get a mention but if several things were taken and only a couple pairs of underwear, it might be missed.

    Anyways.....bit long, sorry! I didn't mean to hijack your thread, I was just really curious about those aspects. Who knows, maybe it'll give someone some ideas.
     
  11. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    Oh well in my story, the woman who owns the home is a witness in a case, and the villains broke in an attempt to most likely kill her cause she knows too much. So logically she would now be put up in a hotel then, probably. But that was the reason why it's more top priority, compared to just any breaking and entering.
     
  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    Watch any of the CSI series where armed evidence techs will burst in ahead of the SWAT team, collect evidence, personally match it to the suspect they "like" for the crime, cut to a commercial for car insurance, and then interrogate him without a lawyer until he confesses to everything.

    Depending on your target audience, they'll believe anything.
     
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  13. JimS

    JimS Banned

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    Oh okay thanks. Well in my plot the break in is actually staged, because the villains want to lure the main character detective to a crime scene, cause they want to follow him and have plans for him. However, the villains are going to need to be able to predict what is going to happen accurately. Would it be too much for them to predict that he will come alone, after the other cops have left, instead of coming and leaving with an entourage? Or are there too many unknowns for a staged break in to work out like that?
     

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