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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Double shooting near Drake House raises questions

Unreported double shooting near Drake House Sunday.
An unreported double shooting near Plainfield's Drake House Museum raises questions.

I am told that Plainfield police were called to the scene of a double shooting just before dawn on Sunday morning at the BP gas station on the corner across from the city's Drake House museum. The victims are two Hispanic males, one of whom was said to be shot in the face and seriously wounded.

It seems that the gunshots were not picked up by the new ShotSpotter system, I have been told. That is troubling if true, since the system was installed earlier this summer and could reasonably be expected to have passed its 'shakedown' phase and be fully operational. (I saw large numbers of uniformed and plainclothes Plainfield police, along with what appeared to be students from the police academy, sweeping the area mid-morning Monday, apparently looking for shell casings and other evidence.)

But just as troubling as the unreported shooting is an evident crime news blackout in the days leading up to tonight's National Night Out celebration. Besides the double shooting, cops tell me recent crime activity has included the robbery of a bodega by a machete-wielding man; breaking and entering of a laundromat in an attempted robbery; and a car purposely set on fire.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Director Hellwig is quoted in the Courier's National Night Out story (see here) -- 

During previous National Night Out events the city held marches during which elected officials would urge residents to “take back our streets.” But Hellwig said late last week that a new slogan is in order.

“I think, to a certain extent, we should, and we are, moving away from that mentality. I don’t think we ever gave the streets up,” Hellwig said. “The streets will remain safe because we have community involvement, and we’re not going to tolerate anything less than that.”

That's a nice sentiment, but does it mean crime should be swept under the carpet for public relations purposes?

Plainfield's official National Night Out celebration this evening (see more here) will feature free entertainment, refreshments, informational tables, and a dance contest. Attendees are invited to bring canned goods and nonperishable food items for donation to local feeding programs. Mayor Robinson-Briggs will no doubt be distributing hugs.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

It is outrageous to think that Hellwig or the administration would purposely cover up crime in Plainfield. I stop for gas at the station occasionally. I would not stop at night after hearing this and by hiding this crime, my life and that of others may be put in danger. I wish we had an administration and Public Safety person who knew what they were doing. This is a difficult situation, but Hellwig and Sharon don't seem to be helping.

Walt Hetfield said...

I've been following this "shotspotter" nonsense for a while now and all I can say is that salesman really found a bunch of pidgeons when he came to Plainfield. The money would have been better spent on more local policeman.