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October – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Cristal M Clark

On Monday night I wrote an article and mentioned in it that I was currently dealing with a stalker type of situation. From that I received an overwhelming number of emails from individuals worldwide who are experiencing the same type of situation. For most the situation is stemming from a relationship that never made it to the one-year mark, shockingly many more are stemming from a relationship that never made it past the 2-6-month mark.

Two very clear messages jumped out at me as I spent last night reading each email that had been sent, 1. Everyone who had written to me feels helpless, 2. Everyone stated that the police were doing nothing to help them. 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, and this type of behavior is technically classified as a form of domestic violence. 

Sadly, it’s also a form of DV that is difficult to prosecute without having established a pattern of behavior. It’s really difficult for victims to figure out when unwanted contact turns into criminal contact when no physical violence has taken place and no threats are being made. 

Police get these types of calls all of the time, “the person I dated for just a short time is stalking/harassing me.” When it turns out they called three times wanting a second chance. 

Since it’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I received so many messages from people going through the same thing I am currently going through, I thought I would put together some helpful tips, share tools and share my own personal story of what I am currently going through and let you know how I handle it, in the hopes that it helps many of you who wrote to me the last two days sharing the same stories asking for help.  

When you break it off with someone and you feel that they are stepping over that line from healthy just wanting a second chance to not letting go, becoming obsessive, harassing you, stalking you or staking out known places you go in the hopes of running into you, calling your friends or family trying to locate you, it’s important that you be your own hero and help the police and DA’s to establish a pattern of behavior. 

Keep a level head, one young man who wrote to me was stalking his ex who was stalking him in the hopes of catching her drinking and driving, using illegal drugs. I cannot stress this enough, refrain from doing that, not only could that potentially be dangerous for you, it can also be considered criminal behavior just from the stalking aspect.

Keep a level head no matter how worried, scared, nervous, afraid, or upset you are, even if you feel angry, keep a level head and stay calm. Trust me if your ex lover is that obsessed they will dig themselves a grave in due time. And sometimes it takes time and effort to establish a pattern of behavior. 

Help yourself and start to establish a pattern of behavior. 

A few things about that. 

Making this even more difficult is that one of the first things anyone is told is to block your ex lover on your phone and on all social media so that he/she cannot call/contact you. Hands down that is the worst advice. Case in point, mine. I blocked a man I dated for 2 months, of that 2 months I spent month 2, attempting to break things off with him. I ended up blocking him on my phone only to learn a couple of days ago that by doing that, my phone company has no record of his incoming calls or text messages unless he leaves a voicemail, on an iPhone voicemails still come over as blocked messages but my phone company phone records still have no record of those calls. 

Thankfully,  on an iPhone with the latest update, you can block all unknown numbers from ringing on your phone but they will show up as missed calls, and voicemails show up as just regular voicemails. Blocking someone is not always ideal on your phone because it makes it difficult to establish a pattern of behavior for police unless the person is leaving voicemails. 

The other part of that, if you block someone and they start to escalate in terms of asking for a second chance, to asking you to call to threats, through text message which seems to be a popular way of communicating, you are not going to see those messages and I don’t know about any of you here, I don’t like being blindsided. 

Most phones will give you an option to send some numbers directly to voicemail without having to block the individual, and as frustrating and unnerving as it might feel to keep seeing countless texts come through, I would ignore them after my own experience and just let them continue to come in. 

Be aware of all of your surroundings, home, work, even in the most populated area such as the grocery store, shopping center, coffee shop. I broke things off back in the middle of August with the person I had been seeing, the next weekend I spotted him in the parking lot of the grocery store I normally go to just sitting watching the area I normally park my motorized transport in. Initially when I broke it off with him, I had a feeling given his messages, the fact that he is mentally unwell and he medicates that with very heavy substance abuse that I was going to have some issues with him. All of those reasons by the way are what led me to end things so quickly.  

Anyway, I had purposely parked my vehicle closer to this salon in the area and hiked in, using a different door and ensuring that if he did spot me, I was in the most populated part of the entire area. He did not spot me thankfully, I jotted down the date time and location and decided I would do my shopping elsewhere and on a different day of the week moving forward. 

The weekend after that, he was sitting in the parking lot to the Starbucks I frequent on the weekends. I kept driving and he did not see me drive past, so, I now frequent a different Starbucks. 

I get my fuel at a different gas station, shop at a different Super Target. 

These things are not convenient in the least, but to keep myself safe, they are a must. When we date even briefly someone who is mentally unwell and who self medicates with substance abuse we never know if they will at some point completely lose it, when they might do that or what might happen if they become upset and frustrated by us refusing to speak to them, running away etc. I’ll get to that later here because last Friday things could have ended pretty badly. 

No matter how humiliated you feel, tell everyone you know what is going on, especially mutual friends and acquaintances, get the word out. The guy I had been seeing was calling my friends about three weeks ago trying to find out where I work. No one told him of course and naturally I was pretty unsettled about it. The last person this guy should have asked was my best friend and turns out that was the first person he asked. Not the smartest move. 

I have that documented. I was able to learn from multiple friends after that he has indeed been trying to track me down on a weekly basis, several times a week. When all this started back in August, I decided to lay low hoping it would eventually resolve itself. 

I noticed him driving up my street a few times early in the morning, I have the sounds of most of the vehicles on my street memorized, so at around 5:30-6:30 I’d hear a different sounding vehicle I would look out and it was him. 

Sadly, that makes me want to move sooner rather than later. Which is easier said than actually done. 

I thought by ignoring him it would stop eventually. It hasn’t. 

Weekly I have been receiving text messages to the number I use for this website from this man. I delete them and never responded to any of them, with the exception of twice. Sometimes multiple times a week I get a message.

The first time I responded, it was after a slew of rather ugly messages one night right after I ended things, they were directed at me, wild accusations. They started with him playing the part of the heart broken victim, attempting to manipulate me into texting feeling sorry for breaking things off, when I ignored them, he took it up a notch to accusing me of being with someone because it was a Saturday night, I couldn’t possibly be home alone (I was), then he became angry and said some ugly, terrible things to me. I responded just once, stating pretty clearly that if he continued to contact me that I would call the police and that I would file charges. I choose my words carefully which I will explain later.

He backed off for a while. 

The messages still came though, once or twice a week to my website phone number, no ugliness but looking for info nonetheless, like what was I up to, with whom, pretending to be happy that my college football team won. Even though I found the messages annoying and I deleted them, I noted times, dates and what was said in them and refused to respond to them. 

I kept ignoring them, then suddenly last week starting on Thursday he began calling my cell and leaving me voicemails. First saying he just wanted to talk. I did not call back but I saved the message. 

Last Friday, the first time in over a month, my best friend insisted that I go out and stop hiding letting this guy dictate my ability to just enjoy life and time with my friends. I decided to go. My friends and I were not out to get drunk, we just wanted to enjoy our time off from work and catch up. None of us drink and drive we hail ride shares so I thought I’d be safe meeting up with my crew. The guy I was seeing enjoys drinking and driving and usually does it before 7pm, I wasn’t going to be out until after 7 so that further instilled the idea that all would be well.

After a short time, two women I know well walk in and sit next to all of us. They started to share their stories with me about the man I had briefly dated. Turns out, he has a long and documented history of harassing and stalking women. These women came out that night to show me some support after learning that I had been hiding, worried about what this guy may or may not be capable of. I also learnt that his behavior is in fact, escalating from what he had put them through. One of these women expressed that while she has never obtained an order of protection, she knows some officers at Denver PD and they are aware of this man’s behavior and look out for while on duty. 

Learning all of this is powerful, not only does it establish a history prior to mine, it also shows that he does this in an attempt to try to control and manipulate women, victimizing them. Me being me, well I am pretty stubborn and sort of already saw that already,  I just needed it validated. 

We are just chatting when suddenly, past his bedtime, who should walk drunkenly in the door. He sat a few seats down from me, my best friend leaned over and told me not to worry about it, the establishment already knew about the situation. They were ready to ask him to leave when we gave them the signal. None of us acknowledge him and continued our conversation about other things. You could feel him becoming angry. A member of the staff asked him to move to the other side of the bar, he complied but watched all of us becoming visibly more angry, loudly tapping the bar, fidgeting, drinking in gulps not sips. My best friend got up to use the restroom and this guy took the opportunity. He got within two inches of my face, I took exception. He yelled at me, again I took exception and started to reach for my bag after telling him to get the fuck away from me and leave me alone, he yelled “or what”, I said I’ll have you kicked out, he got in my fact again and that was it. 

Two things to know here are that one, if I had thought it through we should have called the police because this guy drove to the bar, he was completely drunk, stumbling, slurring his words and he would have been taken in the second he pulled away from the bar because either way I was not drunk they were not kicking me out, second, since learning he had been trying to find out where I work, I have been carrying a weapon in my bag. I was reaching for that weapon at the very moment my best friend was walking out of the bathroom.  

I will let all of you know, I was ready to use that in those moments because for the first time in years I actually felt threatened by another individual. I felt he was willing to cause me harm, he was that drunk and angry. My best friend showed up just in time and pulled the guy away and proceeded to ask him to leave the establishment before things get ugly. He complied, my best friend is a big guy who many don’t really like to mess with. 

He handled the situation rather beautifully. We all know why I ended things but this guy isn’t getting it, he continued to play the victim, he kept saying “I didn’t do anything, I want to know what I have done.” Michael, my BFF kept responding with “John, it doesn’t matter, she has it in her head you did something so now you need to leave her alone, it would be best if you just leave.” You can’t reason with these types of individuals, you have to reason with them enough to get them to go away sometimes. I do not need to prove shit to this guy at this juncture, his behavior says it all. 

I informed this guy clearly why I did not want to pursue a relationship with him. His behavior is classic textbook, he will play the victim, pretending nothing is wrong with him or imply he doesn’t recall being told. 

People who do this to us all want a long drawn out explanation, that is a ploy they use in the hopes to manipulate us back to allowing them to be a part of our lives. 

The best thing you can do is not get drawn into that, you owe no one an explanation past, you don’t feel the relationship can move forward. It’s not like it was a 25 year marriage. 

That being that when everyone’s night ended I made sure to ask my driver to wait to leave until I was in my home, explaining my situation. Most Lyft drivers are happy to do that for riders, I got home safe and sound and for the first time in over two months, actually slept the entire night until morning. 

The next day, things were quiet, except that he drove down my street early in the morning.  I expected a slew of calls from this guy, he did not call. 

Now, I have witnesses to his behavior, several of them. I again note time, date, names of witnesses and detailed what transpired the night before. 

Saturday I thought finally, he got the hint, for the first time since I ended things he has not tried to contact me and got it. 

I was wrong. 

The calls started coming in on Sunday, he was using his roommates phone though. Show of hands, who in the hell answers the phone from a caller you don’t know? Yeah me neither. 

I looked up the number up and learnt who the owner was, his roommate I am sure does not know he used his phone to call me. 

Here I could choose to call his roommate and show him the call details and enlist his help. The reality is this, if I call the police they are not going to lay in wait at the bar for this guy, that is absurd unless the guy is at the bar intent on driving home right? No they will arrest him at his home, a home he rents a room in, he does not own the place.
So I could call his roommate and trust me I keep thinking about it. But I know that guy, he’s a mutual friend, he’ll toss him out the door straight away, no questions asked.
If he does that, it could potentially cause this guy to snap and come after me, he knows where I live.
I will table this idea and utilize it as a last resort.

Monday, I got back to back to back voicemails, all odd, sounded like he was whimpering, he would say things like, “welp,” then this odd whimpering, 3 to 5 second voicemails. The guy has an iPhone, you don’t arse dial on those so So, I know it was not a mistake. 

At this, because I want him to lose my cell number, I attempt to direct the calls and texts back to my website number. 

I send out a text message that makes it abundantly clear again, that he is to stop attempting to call me, find me, approach me, it’s over, we are not friends, I want no further contact with him and he needs to stop, only this time I end it with, if you continue, I will call the police and “they” will file charges for harassment and stalking. 

Earlier when I initially stated that I had asked him to stop trying to contact me, right after I ended things, I informed him that if he continued, I would call the police and that “I” would file charges. That translates to something like an empty threat, we both know that early on I probably do not have enough to warrant criminal charges. 

When you tell someone that you are going to call the police and that the police will file charges you are sending a message to that individual that you are confident you have enough proof to establish criminal behavior. 

Now if he were truly mentally insane, he would proceed with contact, even temporary insanity. I know this one firsthand, when someone is truly suffering some mental trauma that could be considered insanity, they do not have a magic shut off they do not truly understand the line between unwanted contact and criminal. 

Individuals like many of us are currently dealing with tend to know when to back off then carefully try to venture back in. They want it to look like you or I are overreacting, like we are having mental issues. 

In my case because I shared what was going on with so many of our mutual friends, it enabled word to travel around to two other people who have been dealing with this guy, dealing with the same situation. 

Him walking in and seeing all of us sitting together had to have freaked him out because at that moment he most likely realized we had shared war stories. 

So what happens now? 

I don’t know, since my last message he has not attempted contact but he is a drunk in that he generally drinks 8 or more beers a day, gets up still drunk and goes to work, he may snap at some point or he may decide finally that it’s not worth it. That I am not worth him going to jail for, which isn’t such a bad thing. 

I have been documenting, choosing my timing when I respond, how I respond, when I respond I have a reason for why I did that, I decide what I say so as to maintain control over my own well being and the situation to the best of my ability. The police would need to know after all that I am not antagonizing or exacerbating the situation. 

Above all I continue when I choose to respond to let this individual know, we are over the contact is unwanted. 

On the subject of getting a weapon. 

Every cop I have ever spoken to has told me that if you feel that someone could potentially cause harm to you, that you should consider getting a weapon for your own protection. Response times of police can very and you need to think about protecting yourself. 

Normally, I would balk at the idea but with this guy I took some time to think it over. I did not come to the decision easily or lightly. I opted not to get a gun, my granddaughters dig through my purse, I am good with hand to hand combat and went for something that allows for up close and personal damage. 

I practice using it every day, I have for years anyway but not consistently until more recently.

Do what you need to do in order to feel safe. If you do not want to get a weapon, have another plan so as to save yourself. I live in Colorado, sometimes in the winter the police simply cannot get to me fast enough when I need them. Those are facts. 

Document, document and document some more. Everything. Be aware enough to notice the tiniest of things out of order. When you go somewhere, make a note of it’s layout especially the exits, not just in and out of a door but on and off of a property. Make an escape plan the second you memorize the layout and carry that plan through over and over again in your mind until it feels like an old habit. Create alternate plans just in case. 

Reach out to your local victims advocates too, let them know what is going on and ask for help. Usually they can help you better determine when unwanted contact starts to turn to criminal contact. 

Ask police (not 911 folks), ask the DA, ask victims advocates. They would much rather help you navigate that legal system than see you harmed in anyway shape or form. And what’s more is that they will tell you upfront whether you have enough to warrant criminal charges at whatever stage you are at. These guys tend to back off, then fuck up fast, short and quick but then back off right before it becomes a crime. 

Establish a pattern of behavior that you can prove.  Say it as many times as you need to, rise above being afraid and start to establish that pattern. 

Each of you control this outcome. Make choices based off of that.   

I cannot stress enough after reading thousands of accounts of my readers who are experiencing this right now, this is not normal behavior. Well adjusted adults as I said might try a few times to make it work but past that, it is not normal. Many of you, like myself are dealing with someone who has something mentally going on but who self medicate. 

Readers, that is akin to dealing with the unpredictable. I’d like to say I have the situation under control, but the truth is, I only have me under control. 

I am doing everything that I can to protect myself and to document every interaction, attempt at contact or situation so as to enable the police when/if the time comes to place this individual under arrest. 

Which makes me, not this guys victim. 

If you feel helpless after reading this shoot me a message here or text me. I will help you navigate or point you in the right direction. 

Remember this, anyone going through this, you are not alone, reach out for help, trust me, it will reach back.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver Police to Encrypt Scanner Traffic

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Denver, Colorado

Cristal M Clark

For years people have been able to listen to scanner traffic using police scanners and now mobile app’s, likewise for many years, the individuals who listened in did not mis-use the privilege, these days that is much different story however.

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Now, the Denver Police Department could encrypt its radio traffic at any time which in turn has caused quite a bit of controversy. In today’s world one really does need to play devils advocate on this one. Some in the community feel that should the Denver Police Department go through with encrypting scanner traffic; they will become less transparent and therefor less accountable.

DPD-CrimeShop

Then you have others like myself, who feel that this should have been done a couple of years ago. Around a year or so ago, some of us were listening to the Denver Police attempt to find an armed robbery suspect on the scanner, what we learned from that was, we were not the only 5 listening to the scanner chatter, that armed suspect was possibly also listening in and skipped off happily away because he or she would have been able to know precisely where the police were looking for them.

The police later found a ditched phone that had a police scanner app on it.

In today’s world, individuals do abuse the ability to listen in on police radio traffic in an effort to commit crimes and/or elude the police. I am not really a fan of that personally.

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By not encrypting the radio traffic, our officers and public are put at greater risk of being in harm’s way as well, I am even less of a fan of that.

Because some are abusing the privilege, I don’t really believe we have a right to listen in on the police scanners anymore. Does anyone recall being a kid in class, when little Johnny broke the rules, the entire class lost a privilege over it? This is the exact same concept someone breaks the rules the whole lot loses the privilege.

In short, the Denver Police Department has the Crime Shops support on this one, the world has changed and even they need to become more vigilant and aware of what is happening, and clearly, they are.

This move will better our officer’s ability to catch criminals rather than better the criminal’s ability to get away.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop on twitter

https://www.instagram.com/crimeshop.cc/?hl=en

And https://gab.ai/thecrimeshop

 

Denver, Colorado Police Department – changing use force policy

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Denver, Colorado

In a move that I don’t often make, I am going to praise the efforts of the Denver, Colorado Police Department, in fact, I commend them for taking this very huge step forward.

They announced this week that they plan to rewrite the department’s use of force policy. I’ve said this so many times before, in all reality police departments across the US don’t really need the DOJ to step in and fix everything if a police department is willing and ready for change.

As it turns out, one of the departments that I often praise has paid attention to what has been happening with other police departments across the nation and has taken it upon themselves to change the way they react.

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Instead of telling officers what is legally allowed in terms of using force, they will now be encouraged and allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
That translates to not shooting first and asking questions later, which DPD never really had an issue with but why wait until one surfaces?

They will be provided special training and models to help guide them on how to better react to different situations, according to DPD Chief Robert White.  

“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary that’s where we are going.”

What citizens don’t often see or realize is that some police departments across the country have been watching the violence, the actions of both officers and citizens and they have listened to how citizens feel and they are now taking steps to change different aspects of policing.

That’s pretty important.

The Denver police department has already included a section to its operations manual that requires officers to de-escalate situations when reasonable and of course practical.

They included a section that says that officers now have a duty to render aid after they have shot a suspect or if they used physical force on a suspect if the situation is deemed safe to do so.

Chief White has also vowed to listen to input and idea’s which shows. What’s more is that the department did not take this process lightly. They consulted with something like 14 other departments, some of which were, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo, a board of directors.

They even looked at input from from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum.

The Denver Police Department is proving that they can lead by example. They watch, listen and actually choose to hear what is said by citizens, not just in Denver but nationwide and step forward to make the changes that are needed.

I commend them for the dedication they have for the community that they serve.

Success is not about being the best. It’s about always getting better.

Clearly the Denver Police Department gets that.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Welcome to Denver where you will be violently attacked and possibly die

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How I feel the media describes it after seeing, reading or hearing a headline:

~Denver’s 16th street mall violence is growing to epic proportions

~The Sky is falling in Denver, it’s all out war down on the 16th street mall

~Man brutally beaten with pipe on the 16th street mall (I saw the video the guy that got hit had a laceration and the man     swinging the pipe was arrested)

~Welcome to Denver where you will be violently attacked and possibly die

~Denver police standing around doing nothing while people are viciously attacked on the 16th street mall

~Denver’s homeless smoking crack and shooting up in the allies

~Stay away from the 16th street mall folks, nothing to see here…unless you want to get beat up by a homeless person…and possibly die

Not to make light of it, but…why is it that the media always over sensationalizes every little thing?

The 16th street mall and I am a native of Colorado has always had a problem with transients, some years are better than others. Back in the early 90’s Denver had a problem with transients being aggressive and passing out all over, in front of clubs, restaurants, shops etc.

They normally fight and attack each other more often than not, now they are going for people who might actually have something worth some value that they can take and then try to sell.

Denver, Colorado

Denver tried a few years back to create a “no-solicitation zone” along the 16th street mall which gave the ACLU the opportunity to get involved and win an injunction that prohibited the city from implementing that ordinance.  

The reason being was simple of course. The ACLU’s argument was that it is really hard to regulate speech in public spaces without running into the first amendment.

If memory serves, Denver doesn’t have a loitering ordinance, but even if they did, all the police can do is ask people to move along, away from the mall. If you look at it from a constitutional aspect, that law even more difficult to enforce because then you get into things like “selective” enforcement of the law, which can lead to other issues such as profiling etc.

A few years ago I lived right on 16th Ave a walk out the back door and I was on the 16th street mall. When the police politely tried to encourage the transients away from the mall, they ended up in my neighborhood full of houses, condo’s and some schools. A residential area.

Long story short is that, even that became problematic for the police. Homeowners feared going out after dark, most don’t have a garage when living in the city and some day’s you have to park a good distance away from where you live…that was a scary walk or two through the jungle.

Across the street from my place was a plastic surgery center and next to it was a vacant home. The plastic surgery center would allow for those of us in our condo’s to park in their parking lot at night and on the weekends.

Well, that vacant home became prime real estate to the transients, I lost track of how many times the police showed up to get them off of that property, and from camping out at it. In the end however, our cars were broken into several times, neighbors and I were harassed going to and from our cars, some people were shoved, hit, pushed and what not. Some mornings when heading out to work, we’d call in late after having found a homeless person asleep on our doorstep, some were so violent you didn’t dare wake them, you either called the police or hoped something would rouse them sooner or later so that you could get to work.

In February of this year, the DPD were called out to the now closed plastic surgery center because as luck would have it, someone broke into the vacant building, through the roof.

The point of that little story is simply contrary to what the Mayor said roughly 5 days ago where, he stated that part of the violence problems down on the mall are due to the legalization of cannabis, it’s not, it’s been on it’s way to escalation since before cannabis legalization happened.

From 2008-2013 when I finally begrudgingly moved out of the downtown area I noticed the transient population growing and becoming more and more aggressive.

But I do love the effort to blame the legalization of cannabis…without having any proof of that being even part of the reason as to why people are being attacked whilst strolling down the 16th street mall.

Denver is however, very tolerant of the transient community and always without fail has been, when those individuals behave and are non-aggressive.

Denver has tried many different avenues in an effort to curb the problem as well as the aggressive behavior that come along with a transient community living in parallel to a working society.

I do see a lot of blame being thrown at the DPD’s feet for lack of having “enough” officers at the mall at all hours of the day and night. Trust me, as far as the world is concerned, you are never going to please everyone and so…the police could not possibly have enough officers at the 16th street mall in someone’s eyes.

At the same time it really isn’t fair to blame the police department either. They cannot be everywhere at all times. And District 6 does have officers already assigned to the mall, they patrol it all the time.

Pulling officers from other active areas throughout the city creates potential problems in whatever area the officers were pulled from.

Approving OT is a great idea but officers can’t work 24/7 nonstop they do need a break from time to time as well.  Additionally, does DPD have a plan to hire more officers for that part of town or…

The other problem is that yes, sure the police can arrest the problem children, but guess what they do get out of jail eventually and where do you think they end up? Yes our courts can fine them but they aren’t working currently I’m guessing they are not going to be enticed to try to find a job just to pay a court ordered fine either.

When the transients do get money, they tend to spend it on alcohol, well store owners can consider refusing to sell them any, the store owners know the homeless community much better than the police do after all.

OF course that could also enrage the transient and cause a small issue in the store.

The 16th street mall could be privatized or the city could enforce the aggressive panhandling ordinance, in either case it only moves the problem away from the mall and over to another highly populated area for instance, Rino, Highlands, Cherry Creek, further south down Broadway and into residential areas.  

Besides, the Denver police announced last October that they would no longer be enforcing the city’s aggressive panhandling ordinance, because a similar ban in Grand Junction was ruled as a violation of panhandlers’ first amendment rights. So that’s out.

I should note here that Denver does have a law that prohibits being aggressive in an attempt to get money from a passersby which is not considered the same as aggressive panhandling. The problem is that it’s often under reported and when it is, it’s after the fact making it difficult for police to track down the transient.  

In case you didn’t notice my not to subtle hint here, solving the issue isn’t going to be that easy.

Finding a way to curb the violence is just a start. Society in general seems to be becoming more and more violent and although the reality is violence is everywhere we look, online, on tv, every newscast, social media, etc.

As much as we dislike it, our species has always been violent, so when the media suggests we are becoming immune to it, that is untrue. It is more publicized now than it ever was, and violence tends to grow at the same rate that society in general does.

A bigger society means that it is more prone to outbursts of violence. Add other things like lax laws, poor oversight, not having enough police, not enforcing the laws, the inability to read minds, therefore enabling law enforcement to know when a predator is going to strike, etc…All of that, well that creates a perfect storm.

Everything we do has a cause and then subsequent effect

Everyone can come to the table with plausible solutions to Denver’s 16th street mall problem, the questions are, how to implement those solutions and more importantly, are they long term solutions?

I mentioned some solutions above, while some seem really great, in the grand scheme of things they are short term. Short term solutions to me are the same as sweeping something under the carpet and just hoping it isn’t under the carpet the next time we look.

We basically throw a log doused in fuel into the fire and hope for the best just hoping that it keeps us warm for a really loooong time. The log usually burns through and we have to add another…

What’s more is that some of the very solutions I mentioned while they do sound great will push the problem further into residential areas and other upscale heavily populated areas of the city.

I lived near the mall when that happened a few years ago. Try living in a residential area just blocks away from the Mall, an area the transients moved to after having been kicked out of the mall area. That residential area lacks camera’s, lighting, shops, a witness, it does offer more hiding places for a transient.

Beefing up patrols is a good start if the DPD has the manpower to keep it up, arresting the transients however will only serve as short term solutions to long term problems. Moreover, again is that beefing up patrols long term or just through the end of this summer?

The point is, I hope the city is looking at more long term solutions that actually have the effect everyone is seeking.

I guess for now time will tell, we could always wait it out until next summer…

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

Video shows man violently attacking people on 16th Street Mall; suspect arrested

 

 

4 Guards murdered in Denver bank robbery

denver bank robbery

Dubbed the Father’s Day Massacre

Four guards were found dead while the tellers were left alive.

The murdered guards:

Scott McCarthy, 21

Todd Wilson, 21

William McCullom Jr., 33

Phillip Mankoff, 41

June 16, 1991

While the 4 guards were on duty that Sunday, 6 employee’s were in the cash counting room counting the cash. Around 9:14ish am someone called claiming to be the bank’s VP and asked for entry into the building through a side freight elevator. The caller was calling from what is described as a street level phone.

Doing his job, senior guard William McCulom took the elevator up to meet the caller from where the call originated. Once the doors opened, William was held against his will so that the caller could gain entry to the subbasement. Once the caller had entry, he murdered William, took his access card, then hid his body in a storage room and proceeded on.

The killer wound his way up to the guard station, which is located on the basement level of the building, it also held the vault.

At some point around 9:20am the killer set off an alarm on one of the stairwells but no one seemed to notice or simply ignored it thinking perhaps that is was William.

Once on the basement level, the killer first hit the guard room where he encountered  Phillip Mankoff and Scott McCarthy. He forced them into the battery room and shot them dead. It is believed that Todd Wilson was somewhere else on that level during the killing of Phillip and Scott and either came to their aid or simply returned from wherever it was he happened to be and was shot several feet away from the battery room.

In all, the killer fired a total of 18 shots.

The killer entered the vault at 9:48am according to electronic records from the bank and demanded that the employees cover their eyes and lie on the floor.

The killer then ordered the senior vault manager, David Barranco, to fill a satchel with cash from the work stations.

The killer forced the tellers to crawl into a small room near the vault known as a man trap.

A man trap is basically  a small space with two sets of interlocking doors, which require the first set of doors to be closed before the second set opens.

For a manual mantrap, a guard would lock and unlock each door in sequence. A video camera and intercom are often used to allow the guard to control the trap from a remote location.

It is believed that in an effort to confuse investigators, the killer did not fill up the entire bag with money and he did not take any bundles of cash from the vault. The killer cleared the building at 9:56 a.m. leaving the tellers locked in the man trap.

The tellers found a broken spoon on the man trap’s door sill and freed themselves approximately 20 minutes after the robbery.

The Suspect:

One James King who has since died. What is interesting about James is that he at the time was a former Denver police sergeant and United Bank of Denver security guard.

James

Being a Denver native, I can tell you everyone in town thought that investigators had the right guy because of the local media, but now that I am older and wiser I think that was a knee jerk reaction.

Not that I doubt the evidence or that investigators had the wrong guy, I don’t believe he acted entirely alone and the money, well it was never found or spent by James and that speaks volumes.

James was arrested a month later for the crime and acquitted because the jury felt the prosecution’s evidence was circumstantial at best. The reality is, as little as the DA had, in today’s world the DA actually might have had a better chance at winning.

James was identified by some of the bank employee’s, who also I might note couldn’t tell the difference between actor Harrison Ford and the robber as the defense proved…Jame later admitted to shaving his mustache after the robbery and perhaps the two most damning pieces of evidence are that he owned a .38-caliber Colt Trooper, the weapon used in the murder/robbery and the 17 bullets taken from the bodies of the bank guards were from four or five separate brands.

Once upon a time a little known fact, back in the day the ammo given to Denver officers, would be put into what is known as “ammo buckets.”  As you can imagine, over time when the department bought different brands of rounds the cartridges would get mixed together. Thus when the officers loaded their guns, they would have a mixture of brands.

Funny story, all Denver cops know this…

Here’s the thinking with that and the DA and investigators are pretty right on this, a normal killer/robber is going to take his ammo from one box, i.e. the same brand  of each round that he loaded into the weapon. Most people simply, criminal or not don’t reach into a “bucket” of ammo they have laying around.  Unless of course you know the cops MO in that city and can mimic it.

But was James really the guy?

According to one of his kids, no. According to police and DA, yes.

I am curious as to why the guards were killed and the tellers were not? That seems to be a key piece of intel we have yet to explore.

Additionally, it is way too much of coincidence the tellers just happened to find a spoon in the man trap. If I know anything about banks and it’s a lot,  paperclips, paper, pens, pencils, spoons, just don’t get left lying around, pretty much anywhere, including in the man trap.  

One could legitimately argue that a bank is cleaner than a hospital save for the germs left on cash brought to the bank to deposit. That is hands down.

The FBI through the years did keep an eye on James and they didn’t see a whole lot in the way of him spending the missing cash which was reported to be close to or right at $200K.

The reality is that yes, he could have spent it slowly over time but what’s more likely is that he isn’t the individual that ended up with the cash.

It is widely believed that one of the guards was part of the plan because at around 4:00am that morning an alarm from the basement was triggered an alarm that one of the guards turned off.

Additionally, The former head of bank security, James Prado has always believed that due to security changes that came after James King was employed with the bank, that the killer was a at the time a currently employed guard and maybe not James King.

According to James Prado, one of the security measures that were put into place at the time the robbery/murders occurred ensured that anyone unknown to the guards would be placed in a security man trap when he tried to leave the bank.

How that happens when all of the guards are dead is not known by me, that is for sure. But he is pretty sure of that fact.

Regardless, that implies that some other form of technology or security plan the FBI and DPD either ignored, didn’t find or simply missed is still out and about for the world to find.

In the end two key elements which are basic have been glossed over. All of the guards were killed, which means the killer and the guards knew one another, while the tellers were all left alive, in a man trap they could have died in for all we know, save for the spoon they somehow found which gave them the ability to escape. Which is an unusual chance encounter if you will.  

Regardless of the main suspect in this case being dead now, I believe the answers the FBI and police seek lie in the evidence that was left behind but not fully explored to the fullest. The dead guards, the spoon, and the tellers who survived.

It’s obvious that if you go to rob a bank and know you are going to kills the guards, you might encounter the type of person who is a life saver, hence one of the tellers or two of them try to stop you and you have to kill them, yet only 18 rounds were fired.

In such a sophisticated robbery which was as the evidence shows was well planned out, tapes were taken, guard books were taken, prints wiped, you would certainly take more than 18 rounds, you’d kill more than just 4 guards and  you sure in the hell would make sure that a teller was never going to be able to point the blame to you.

What is clear is that this guy knew his odds better than the odds knew him. He only intended on killing the guards, for a reason. And for a reason he left the tellers alive with a way to escape.

So what about James King then?

Well, he did get rid of his gun, which he freely admitted. What we really have to look at since the FBI couldn’t ever catch him spending the missing cash, is what would he have had to gain from murdering guards he may not have known since he was not employed by the bank any longer and why rob the bank. What did he have going on that might have prompted him to go to that length?

James was not the bank robber type as far anyone knew. He had a wife that stood by him until she died, that is a telling tale and to understand it, I’d strongly suggest you find his son and ask him.

The reality is, he didn’t end up with the cash but someone did. That someone was tied to the bank in some way, whether it was a teller, a guard or someone that any one of them owed money to, a sick family member, etc, the point is, not one of them specifically ended up with all of the cash. You know a rather large sum…of cash, to spend…

Of course someone could have gone Good Fella’s and made sure to spend the money slowly and over time on stuff no one would notice or on stuff that wouldn’t raise suspicions.

The point is simple, that arresting one man a month after the crime and putting him on trial for it tells me that not all of the evidence was examined carefully and that while he may have had a part in the crime, he was never alone and that means that his secrets didn’t exactly follow him to the grave.

As James Prado put it, even if the real killer or some accomplice were found it would be easy for them to point the blame right back at James King.

If it were me, I’d go back over every detail, every detail and any surviving witnesses still, well they could expect another interview.

A reason does exist for every little thing we humans do, even if it does not seem like it. The tellers were left living for a reason to the killer. The trick is figuring out that reason. The guards being killed are easy to figure out, the former is not.

This investigation is worthy of a do over without focusing on anyone person. It’s worthy of seeing the actual evidence and looking at for the first time. Something I don’t believe investigators or the FBI ever did.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS user? Well you are in luck you can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

Also give a shout out to my fuel supply, deathwishcoffee.com

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Today I read a story from my friends at officer.com where the NYPD Commissioner backed up what FBI director James Comey said last week with regards to the Ferguson Effect. I’ve included links to both articles if you need to catch up.

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http://www.officer.com/news/12133640/bratton-officers-impacted-by-ferguson-effect

FBI Director James Comey listens during a news conference announcing a deal between the U.S. government and French bank BNP Paribas at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The U.S. government and French bank BNP Paribas have agreed to a settlement over alleged sanctions violations that would require the bank to plead guilty, pay almost $9 billion in penalties and face other sanctions. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

http://thehill.com/news/administration/258737-obama-fbi-director-spar-over-the-ferguson-effect-on-police

What’s sad is that the President seems to be blind to it, in fact I am guessing quite a few lawmakers are choosing not to see it. The Ferguson Effect is actually quite real in a lot of places but not in every state just yet.

The problem that I have with this is that it is truly one sided. I get that Black lives matter, I also get that ALL lives really do matter at the end of the day.

The media has carefully chosen to over-sensationalize certain police involved shootings and every damn time I see it in the news they stress and I mean stress, “White Police Officer/Black Suspect.”

Well, I am a Denver native, through and through a real life Colorado Native. In Denver we never heard about White officer on Black Citizen like you see on the news when something goes down like it did in Ferguson. Here’s why, in Denver the police force is mixed of all races and so is the population in Denver. Why is that I wonder? Well, it’s one of the most hopping cities to live in and they attract individuals from all over to live in and work in the state of Colorado. They have upper class parts of Denver, so called Middle Class, the Lower Class, the Homeless, the Druggies and Dealers, the Prostitutes and Pimps, thieves, burglars, rapists, runaways and killers.

denver-colorado-police-hbtv-hemp-beach-tv

Still you don’t see stories like Ferguson come out of Denver.

Even the surrounding towns and cities in Denver never have these issues and again it’s a huge mix of different races and nationalities, yet they never seem to have these types of issues.

I mean look at the video below, I found this while researching the Bennett case when I was looking for old news stories. This guy is going out of his way to annoy police or make it seem as if he is up to something when in reality he is not. The Arvada, Colorado police handled this with more professionalism than I would have given this guy.

Here’s why I have an issue with this so-called Ferguson Effect. It’s misrepresented and completely blown in one direction instead of where it should be.

I am a Denver Native, but have lived in NY, NE, FL and OR and in the deep south. Policing is different in each area. In the southern states you see more of the gritty type of cop and you see racism through the ranks in the south but it’s not every single cop. In the South you can go to a Flea Market and buy a gun from a licensed dealer without having a background check run, in many other states you cannot do that. True story, you can actually do it and women are very encouraged to buy a gun at said flea markets. You also see racism in the South from Black towards Whites, specifically towards police officers who are white. Laws are enforced differently depending on where you are and policing is way different depending on which state you are in.

Let me start with Ferguson. I wasn’t around during the shooting, wasn’t present and I would suspect almost every single one of you weren’t either. We didn’t witness it, didn’t see everything that happened and opinions are a lot like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink.

Many people jumped on one side of the fence or the other, it was always either a white or black side which I am perplexed by. Almost every individual I spoke to during that time and since has based what they said to me off of his or her own personal belief rather than the facts that were presented to Law Enforcement. In fact, even the media made it a white or black thing.

The reason most of us aren’t cops is because we have a big problem distinguishing right and wrong from our own personal belief system. While I personally believe racism is very prevalent in today’s world, I don’t believe for one second that race had a damn thing to do with what happened in Ferguson. I believe because it’s my personal belief system, as my dad taught me, when a cop tells you to do something, you do it. If you don’t and you get your ass kicked, shot or thrown in jail that’s your own fault. Period end of story.

Ferguson is interesting in that the general population is predominantly black and it’s police force is predominantly white. So what does that say? Do you think that if the officer who confronted Michael Brown would have been black that it would have ended any differently? Not really. The only thing that would have been different is that it never would have made it’s way to the Ferguson Effect.

All that says to me is that if they want a police force that attracts more ethnicity they should figure out how to attract that. What the media and general public did with Ferguson is make it a white on black thing because of the fact that the community is predominantly black and the police force is predominately white. So everyone in turn assumed it’s a racist police force. What you don’t see or hear about is that many of the officers applying for the jobs in Ferguson are white. Not black, not Asian or Hispanic but White! It’s not racism if no other ethnicity is applying for the jobs.

I know some of you are going to get pretty pissed at me for saying this but I don’t care, I call it how I see it. We, the general public, mass population, as well as the media are excusing bad behavior by blaming the innocent and allowing criminals to be absolved of criminal behavior because they were killed during the commission of committing a crime by a white police officer, and calling it racism, when no black police officer was around or could have handled the incident instead. We are making shit up that isn’t real plain and simple.

Michael Brown was breaking the law and while I feel terrible for his family, the fact is unchanged however that he was committing a crime and subsequently got shot because HE did not comply with the request of a police officer. It simply did not matter in the eyes of that police officer during the event what COLOR or RACE Michael was. Quite frankly it wouldn’t have made a difference in my mind either. IT’s because most of us look out into the world with a guilty conscience because of our own feelings, personal views based off of past indiscretions we either committed or that were committed against us and we judge the motives of others based off of all of that. We choose to see things with a clouded view rather than the crystal clear vision of reality. We tend to see things how we want to see them and no one can tell us any different!

Sure I could walk down the street and assault a shop owner and try to rob them, then not comply with a police officer and try to overpower him or her and expect not to get shot…couldn’t I? At the same time if I tried to take said officers weapon and got shot in the process who is to blame for that? Why would we blame the officer? I was shot because of my own actions not the officers. The officer, if I had done all of that was well within his/her right to confront me.

As for better training, let me ask all of you, if the tables were turned and be realistic, you are wrestling with someone who is trying to take your loaded gun away from you, would you:

  1. call a time-out and chat over a coffee about that persons misguided anger issues
  2. take the time to pull out your mace so you can shoot him in the eye
  3. try to wrestle the gun back but also make sure if it goes off you’ll only hit him in the leg
  4. hand him your gun and ask for a 5 minute head start so you can run
  5. blow your rape whistle and hope for the best

Let’s face the facts as they are, we are placing blame on any individual that we can other than the very individual that should be blamed. Lesson number one, don’t break the law and lesson number two, if the police tell you to do something do it!

Here’s the deal, if we were to look at the Ferguson case and others like it realistically, like Tamir Rice, with a logical mind instead of a judgmental one, without immediately pulling the race card the officers actions would no longer be an issue.

So this Ferguson Effect, what is it really? Well, we have a ton of police who are afraid to do their jobs because society and media always seem to be able to find fault in it. We’d rather blame the police than the criminal and we want to hang on to the race card without actually having the benefit of race really coming into play.

So what the police in your community are mostly white. Ask how many African American’s who were qualified applied for the job. If you can’t prove your police department is racist you don’t have a leg to stand on. At what point in time did we suddenly stop making criminals accountable and turn the tables on the very officers we employ to protect and serve us from said criminals? IF you think you can police better than the police without shooting everyone you come into contact with by all means…

How many people cried out about an injustice or race when Richard Matt got into a police shoot-out and subsequently died this past summer in NY? Why didn’t the police try to reason with him or shoot him in the leg. I am sure they could have done something other than kill him…right?!?!?!? In fact how many of you know if the officer who shot him was white or black, mixed race, Asian, Hispanic? Better yet, did anyone care? No, because Richard Matt was white and had already been convicted of a crime.

No one cared about any of that and here’s why, Richard Matt was serving a life sentence already and escaped. So in our minds he had already been found guilty of a crime and just wanted to escape so he is guilty. Are we saying police must already know of a persons innocence or guilt when they approach a criminal in order to clear the cop of a shooting if it were to occur in the event the criminal, black or not is killed trying to evade arrest?  It sounds a lot like that is what we are demanding.

The fact today is that I see a lot of police hesitation and they shouldn’t be forced to do that because of the media or society. If a killer gets away today because an officer hesitated then said killer, killed your loved one (s) we’d want the officer’s head on a silver platter just the same because we would find fault in the officers choice not to chase or shoot said killer. If the officer were to be the one killed we somehow still manage to place less value on his life than we would if the killer had been, and if the killer had been black.

Police corruption is everywhere but it’s not a white or black thing. IT’s a cop who shouldn’t be a cop got in thing. We need to stop making police shootings more than they are, we need to stop making them a race thing and we need to stop seeking out ways to condemn the actions of a cop who was just doing his job one night. If we all really wanted racism to stop, we’d stop pulling that card and see things as they really happened.  Use statements like, “A person got shot during the commission of a crime, it’s unclear if the person had a weapon, was reaching for the officers weapon, a struggle ensued…” Ahh but then no one get’s attention, money or advertisers that way… At the end of the day if it were you, or me like I said, race isn’t even a factor if I am trying to save my life.

Society doesn’t want an individual held accountable without the benefit of a trial or the ability to blame someone other than the very individual who committed a crime or did something wrong. Cops are not fit to to be cop, Jury, Judge and Executioner all at the same time.  At least in our minds yet, we expect them to be if it were our very lives that hung in the balance, just not that cops life. We expect them to shoot if they feel our lives are in danger but when it comes to the life a cop, we’d rather condemn them for trying to protect their own lives regardless of the assailants color or race. We always manage to find faults in an officers response to anything.

Fact is, if you break down the number of police involved shootings by city, state, municipality and then took a hard look at race really being the determining factor as to why the cop shot, you’d see quite clearly that, it wasn’t.

Cops aren’t super hero’s, they aren’t Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, or Batman, they are people too and they make judgement calls more than any of us do. The problem is, we never want to admit that if it were us in those shoes we would have made the same call at that point and in that very same moment.

The race card is being over used and it’s being used to excuse the actions of individuals rather than correct that individuals behavior. Each time the race card is used in the place of looking at an event that warranted what we call police brutality, murder or mayhem, it’s only purpose is to further oppress.

Cristal M Clark