You know, sometimes I really dont get the NYPD. Their attitudes are so different from what I expect.
In front of where I work, across the street and about 30 feet away is a Fire Hydrant in between 2 drive ways. People always place their vehicles in those 3 spots (Driveway 1 and 2 and the Hydrant). People gotta take leaks or hand in paper work, its usually a 3 minute thing. Everyone co-exists happily. Except one guy who lives further down the block and makes a habit of calling the Traffic Enforcement Cops to nail everyone with tickets.
Anyway, this is all background. So, today I notice a car parked directly in front of the fire hydrant for well over 30 minutes. IMO any justification a person has has gone out the window. Now, I wasn't sure if I should dial 311 or 911, is it an emergency I asked myself? It's clearly a crime and a hazard, 311 response times are...well...lengthy, so I decided to err on the side of caution. I dialed up 911 to report the crime. Now, we all know whats written on every squad car right? Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect!
Heh, the 911 operator thought I was playing a prank. A prank. I asked if 311 would have been more appropriate and he said something along the lines of "yea sure" and hung up!
Well at this point I figured I should try calling the local precinct directly (the 61st Police Precinct on Coney Island Ave and Ave W). I was under the impression that since Traffic Officers drive NYPD vehicles, and have NYPD Patches, that they would work along side normal police at the precinct. When I called a very young sounding girl picked up. I gave her the address and the "crime" and asked if they could send someone by. She said "are you kidding me? thats not even a crime, its a traffic violation!" Wait, what? So, now i've got someone at a Police station telling me that Traffic Violations aren't crimes. Ok, the next time I've got a cop giving me a ticket I'll refer them to this person so she could explain that I'm not breaking the law! So i asked if she was serious and she continued by exclaiming "What are you doing rolling up on peoples cars anyway, mind your own business!" Ok, at this point I was just floored. I thought maybe she thought I was someone who worked there pranking the office or something. I explained I was a good sumaratin calling in something suspicious and she laughed some more, said some insulting things I was too shocked to bother remembering. I asked her if I could have her name and badge number and she just laughed and hung up.
Right, See I don't freaking get it. We're told that It's our responsibility to report suspicious behavior and anything abnormal. We're told that It's by clamping down at small Quality of Life Crimes that the police are able to discover more serious crimes and criminals. I don't think a week goes by where we don't hear something on the news about how a "Routine investigation" or a "routine traffic stop" didn't lead to some major drug bust or the uncovering of criminal activity.
Here we have a crime being committed, yes a minor crime, but a crime none the less, that qualifies as suspicious activity. At each and every turn I'm rebuffed and laughed at when I try to bring this information to the authorities. You'd think that they would rush someone over to slap the vehicle with tickets or something so the city could make an extra buck. ((Please note the sarcasm here....))
What the hell qualifies as a big enough crime for anyone to pay some freaking attention? Does someone have to get shot? Does the crime have to involve a minority or something? Does it have to be news worthy to get a response?
I'm not sure what else to say....
You know, I really really really want to support the NYPD and the "Brave Men in Blue", our first "line of defense" against terrorism. But the more and more I'm exposed to their rank and file officers/employees, the more I come to realize and believe that the paltry amount the rookies get paid isin't so much a travesty as I once thought it was. Maybe its because the low pay attracts a lower common denominator of person? I just know that the people already there don't deserve it, they deserve less.
EDIT: In response to the posters who've balked at my dialing 911 (which admittedly was expected) I Just want to add the following. I "get" it. 911 should only be dialed in an "Emergency". A couple of people have already made this point, and I've replied to them. I made a decision to dial 911 over 311 because of the suspicious nature of the situation. Nobody leaves their car unattended in front of a fire hydrant for 30 minutes in New York City, nobody. I didn't expect a squad car to rush over, In fact I didn't expect a big deal at all. I expected to be taken seriously and for everyone to act professional, regardless of how outlandish the call might seem. It's their job. If you think I shouldn't have called 911, fine, the point has been made. The 911 operator should have been professional and directed me to call 311, end of story. Feel free to discuss the other issues however.