Should the names of those accused of crimes be published in the Valley Roadrunner Sheriff's Blotter?
November 07, 2013I'd really like your opinion on something. Every paper I have worked for over the years has run sheriff blotters. For the past two weeks, we haven't run our sheriff 's blotter due to space constraints. Late last week I received an email from a reader who said he relied on the blotter so he could keep an eye on crime trends in Valley Center. He called it essential information for the community." I couldn't agree more.
Over the past few weeks as I have gathered information for the Roadrunner blotter I have learned several things about our community.
For instance, I have learned there are an awfullot of burglaries in Valley Center as of late. Vehicle theft, residential burglaries and even commercial burglaries are present on this week's blotter. So I know for whatever reason, I really shouldn't leave my purse or camera in my car, my vehicle unlocked, or walk out the front door of the office without setting the alarm and locking it. These are things that I have always done — a byproduct of living in a DC suburb, I
suppose — but perhaps someone who isn't used to doing those things, might develop a new habit to keep themselves, their family and their property safe because of information run in the blotter.
So the Sheriff 's Blotter
isn't in question here. I like it. I like researching it. I like that I get story ideas from those sheriff reports. It keeps us in
the know, aware of what is going on around us, which in turn, can help us to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm. All are good things that come from only one hour a week of my time.
Here is the big question, and I really want the community's input on this. I think we should run the names of those arrested in the blotter and I hope you'll keep an open mind and hear me out before forming an opinion on this controversial subject.
First of all let me say, I know that a person is innocent until proven guilty. As a matter of fact I would go so far as to place a disclaimer reminding our readers of that fact. I also understand that Valley Center is a small tight-knit community so everyone knows everyone else. I get that there are many valid reasons to not publish names of those
arrested for breaking the law.
But I also know that many people will think twice before drinking and driving if they know their name would appear
in their local newspaper. It could deter vandalism, theft and other crime. I am a realist and I know it certainly wouldn't deter all crime and by no means do I believe that publishing names in the Roadrunner is the best way to prevent criminal acts and behaviors. But I do have to wonder if the fear of having his or her name in the newspaper keeps just one drunk driver off the road or saves one life wouldn't it then be worth it?
So I want to know what you, our readers think. Please take a moment and send an email or write a letter to the editor on this issue. All of your thoughts and opinions will be taken into consideration before the Roadrunner makes a decision on this issue. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I look forward to hearing from you.