Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stinkin' Journal Star part 2

Well, the LJS never fails to amaze. I previously blogged about how the Lincoln Journal Star staff writers often omit details on the description of crime suspects for reasons unbeknownst to anyone with a functional brain. Today, on both the LJS and 10/11 websites, there is a story regarding the robbery of the Berean Church by a man posing as a guard. But something changed today...the LJS actually gives a good description of the suspect:

From the LJS:

'Guard' gets away with $145k church deposit

Description of suspect: The woman at the church told police the man who left with the deposit was white, in his late 20s, 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8, around 150 pounds with short light brown hair, glasses and a couple of days growth of facial hair. He was wearing a dark baseball cap, dark pants and a shirt with an emblem that looked just like a security uniform.

From 10/11:

"Fake" Guard Steals Money from Berean Church

Description of suspect: The man is described as white, in his late 20s, 5'7"-5'8" 150 pounds with short brown hair, short facial hair and glasses. (They also make mention of the suspect being dressed in what looked like a security uniform.)

So what changed? The fact that we know he has brown hair, whiskers, and glasses? That will surely narrow it right down. Lots of people, myself included, have 'short, light brown hair'. Of course, the description would no longer be useful if the man a) dyes his hair b) takes off his glasses, c) changes clothes, and d) shaves. The IMPORTANT details, height/weight/age/race are sufficient enough to help identify someone. The clothing can help, but I have a feeling that, if the suspect isn't apprehended quickly, the description of the clothing is, henceforth, useless.

So, the real question is this...what IMPORTANT details changed? What was the difference in the available information that prompted the LJS to include a full description of this suspect, and not of the rape/robbery suspect? And, based upon the difference in details, what reason would the LJS have for not providing a full, accurate description of a violent criminal?

You decide.


  1. I agree with you, but as evidenced by this and this - sometimes the clothing IS important. What is that overused phrase - "The devil is in the details"?

    What I would like to see is ALL available details shared as close to real-time as possible for those who are in the area or "subscribed" to these incidents. An extra pair of eyes out DURING an incident can help quite a bit as evidenced again here.

    People's eyes glaze over when they hear detailed descriptions, but a few of those key elements may be all it takes to trigger one's memory.

  2. The LJS has been doing this for years. Why they're interested in creating a false impression about the racial makeup of crime in Lincoln is beyond me. It has to be pure ideology; I doubt they have that many African-American subscribers.