The answer is that our tiny editorial staff managed to come down with various demonic plagues right around press time, and we simply weren’t able to produce Crime Waves this month. We also had to make this a smaller-than-usual newspaper and to skip the calendar. Both Crime Waves and the calendar are very time-consuming, so we decided to focus our limited energies (between coughing, blowing, sleeping, sweating, shivering and so on) on the rest of the paper. We hope you can forgive us.
This is probably a good time to mention that Crime Waves is one of the most popular sections of our paper, but there is a vocal minority of people who don’t like it at all. They argue that (1) it might be harmful to tourism; (2) it is depressing; (3) it makes fun of people struggling with substance abuse and (4) we don’t need to know about this stuff.
Most newspapers run some form of police blotter. The idea is that it lets citizens know what type of crime, even petty crime, is going on in the community — where it takes place, what sort of substances it involves (around here, alcohol is still the worst problem), and how the police handle the situations.
When we started the Four Corners Free Press, we decided to try to make the traditional blotter a bit more interesting by adding some colorful writing and occasional observations of our own. We don’t mean to pick on people with substance-abuse problems per se, but rather to shine a spotlight on the flaws and foibles in human nature to which all of us may fall prey.
We also have a strong desire to show the kinds of situations that law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. If you think it gets tiresome reading about people cursing at the cops or staggering in the parks or fighting each other over petty nonsense, think about how tiresome it must be to deal with that kind of behavior as part of your job. The police and sheriff ’s personnel rarely get the credit they deserve for handling most of their contacts with patience and restraint.
And as to the tourism concern, well, crime happens in every community. It is, for the most part, much less serious here than in most metro areas. Crime Waves isn’t even available online, so we don’t believe it will have much of a dampening effect on potential visitation to our area.
Newspapers often have to struggle to obtain incident reports. We’re fortunate to have had access to the detailed reports by both the Cortez City Police and Montezuma County Sheriff ’s Office all these years.
But we take your comments seriously and we will try to be responsive to the concerns of those who think Crime Waves is too insensitive.