Archived Story

New tool in fight against crime

Published 10:34pm Friday, February 15, 2013

You might have expected the robocalls to stop tying up your house phone on the day after the election. But even as the ringing in their ears began to fade last week, residents of the Saratoga portion of the city were headed back to their phones this week to hear from an automated calling system urging them to get up, get out and take action.

The point of the automated calls was not to convert voters, to get them to head out to the polls or to ensure that one candidate prevailed over the others. The point was to get information that might help solve a crime, Suffolk’s first murder of the year. Suffolk police have taken the unusual step of using the department’s Reverse 911 system to ask the residents of the Saratoga community whether they saw anything that might help them learn who shot 31-year-old Carlton Holland Jr. in the 400 block of Linden Avenue at about 3 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Reverse 911 is often used to warn residents who have registered for the service about storms, traffic and other important information and updates about their community and the city around them. According to Police Chief Thomas Bennett, this is one of the first times the police department has used the system to seek information from the public, instead of the other way around.

Police believe, however, that someone who was at the party Holland had been attending must have seen something, and they’re hoping the robocalls will help jog those memories.

We commend the police department for the creative way it is using the available technology. And we also call on the people who were at that New Year’s Eve party or who might have been on the street when Holland was shot to take heed of the police department’s call for help. It’s time for that community to help solve its crime problem.

  • Norseman

    I love the reverse 911 so far we have been alerted to a couple of issues way out here in the sticks. For too long the community has sheltered these people that commit most of the local crimes. Hopefully this will spark someone to come forward once in a while to help the police get these guys off the street. In most close urban settings and some of the rural also the community has a good idea who is doing the deeds but out of some mispaced loyalty they don’t turn them in. The problem is the bad actors here don’t have that same loyalty, they could just as easily rob/rape/whatever you after you shelter them.

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  • RobertEStephens

    How about a DOJ/COPS Program…that builds trust–especially among the teenagers–and raises SPD officers’ awareness of the tremendous impact their presence have on the community. Building caring and positive relationships with the youth and community will enhance law enforcement, safety and the ability to achieve goals. Currently…there is an overwhelming fear factor–on both sides…Just ask some of the teenagers…

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