What's the Deal with Trespassing and Undesirables?
A look at some of the trends behind the numbers.
From 2008 to 2010, the number of trespassing cases jumped 47.9 percent. Calls for undesirables rose 25.4 percent from 2008 to 2010.
Why such an increase in trespassing cases, and who, exactly, falls under the category of undesirable?
Police deal with the issue of trespassing in many forms.
If you pay close attention to the Salem police logs, you may notice that trespassing and shoplifting calls are interconnected.
In some cases, when shoplifters are caught, they are not arrested, but instead issued a no-trespass order.
"It's a suggestion [we sometimes make to the businesses]," Police Chief Paul Tucker said of no-trespass orders. "It's something we have as a tool."
Does the increase in trespassing calls have something to do with the slight decrease in shoplifting offenses?
It's impossible to say because trespassing transcends no-trespass order violations in shoplifting cases. And though shoplifting was down 12.1 percent from 2009 to 2010, the 2008 and 2010 statistics in that category were nearly identical.
But, for some businesses, police said the time and money involved in taking a loss prevention associate away from the job to follow up on certain shoplifting cases isn't always the most sensible option.
In addition to no-trespass orders filed after shoplifting incidents, trespassing appears in the police logs in many other forms — from calls about an undesirable in the basement of a home, to orders made after an issue with an individual at a shelter.
A more obvious trespassing case occurred just last week, on March 21, when four Lynn men were arrested by Shaw's Supermarket after police said they were loitering beneath a no-trespassing sign by the store. Police said the loitering issue had been a continuing problem.
What exactly is an undesirable?
Like trespassing, call offenses that fall under the undesirable person category also appear in a variety of forms.
In addition to domestic situations in which a mother doesn't want her son in the house, a boyfriend wants his girlfriend to leave or an individual is panhandling outside a business, police respond to calls about undesirables at locations throughout the city.
"We might go out to the hospital or the shelter," Tucker said.
So, when you look at the numbers, think outside the box — trespassing doesn't always mean someone ignored a posted sign, and undesirables come in many forms.
By the Numbers:
|Call Offense Category Type||2008||2009||2010|
Data courtesy Salem Police Department.