Montgomery City Police Department report from Chief Phil Ahern - Probation and Recidivism
October 18, 2011 - 9:04am — Anonymous
I once read a story in a large metropolitan newspaper which got me to thinking (which in itself might be classified as dangerous) about our small town and how it’s not as isolated as it once was. Things which happen in big cities have a way of affecting communities far removed from the metropolis.
The Chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in a meeting with the Police Board once said, “. . . it’s difficult to make an impact on crime while there are so many predators on probation.”
A not-so-recent study of recidivism (the $5 word for “they’re probably going to do it again”) and probation in the City of St. Louis indicated the number of people on probation in that city increased 50% in the last 15 years. That’s not news to the officer on the street, no matter where the street is.
Some folks, who should be in prison, aren’t. Prisons are overcrowded and the courts have to make some hard decisions as to who must be imprisoned and on whom to take a chance and sentence to probation.
The fact of the matter is when a person is placed on probation, he or she goes right back to the old neighborhood, associates with the same people, and, chances are very good, gets right back into whatever criminal activity got him or her charged and convicted in the first place.
Sure, judges and employees of the Board of Probation and Parole place restrictions on the probationer; however, another fact is the person cannot be monitored every hour of every day. The tendency, then, is for the person to return to criminal activity. It probably should be a condition of probation or parole that the person cannot return to the city or county from which he or she was sentenced, but that’s just me.
For example, it seems once a burglar, always a burglar. We would like to see people who commit crimes take the probation to heart and try to do better, but unfortunately that isn’t usually the case. People tend to associate with the same people during their lifetimes, unless they move away never to return. Sometimes even that doesn’t always prevent repeat offenders though.
Back to burglars; those folks would rather take what you have instead of getting a job, saving money, and buying whatever they would like to have. Experience has taught those of us in the policing game, when there is a burglary, the first persons at whom we look are those who have burgled before. Nine times out of 10 that’s how the case is solved. The same burglars and thieves have done it again.
Even in our small community, it seems we deal with the same folks over and over again, be it burglars, dopers, thieves, you name it. (We even deal with the same folks in domestic disputes again and again. We get tired of it and I know the neighbors do too.) Unfortunately, the way the system works means some fairly dangerous folks are going to be back on the block doing it again.
Activity for the period October 3 through 9 included investigations of complaints of a motor vehicle crash, tampering with a motor vehicle, missing medications, property damage, theft, and interference with (child) custody. Persons were arrested or issued summonses to court for Driving while Intoxicated and Stealing, and a juvenile was taken into custody for Stealing. Eight tickets and 5 warnings were issued for traffic-related offenses.
Importance to me: