The story, in short:
Girl has laptop stolen.
Girl reports theft to police. Response is we’re busy and will get to it eventually.
Girl tracks down thieves and recovers laptop with the help of a friend.
Girl reports recovery to police and provides names and addresses of thieves. Response is the investigating officer is away on vacation next week, but they (the culprits) will still be around when he gets back.
(And in an ideal world the perpetrators won’t have been using the intervening week to rob anyone else.)
I understand the pressures of inadequate staffing levels and the need to prioritize, but I believe that a quick response to these types of petty crimes can have a profound impact in cases such as this. Many (granted, not all) of these cases are crimes of opportunity committed by youthful miscreants who, if caught and appropriately punished in their first attempt at crime, will not reoffend. But, like anything, the more you do it (and get away with it) the easier it is, until stealing becomes second nature.
These crimes do not have a high profile in the community (that is until they are reported in The Citizen), but they are the crimes that will eventually affect all of us in one way or another. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find anyone who hasn’t had a bicycle stolen, or a purse, or a cell phone or laptop, so just on the basis of population affected these cases should receive a higher priority. If the Ottawa Police Service needs to reassign staff from rounding up drunks, busting pot users, and escorting royal couples around town to the Robbery Unit (which, by the way has hours of Monday to Friday, 7:00am to 10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 8:00am to 4:00pm as if robberies don’t occur outside those hours) then do it as the long-term societal benefit will be, in my opinion, significantly greater. And the feeling of why report it, the cops won’t do anything anyway, will have less currency.