Saturday, January 06, 2007

A More Muscular Past

I haven't figured out just how to respond to Anonymous who wrote about a growing crime problem in the Prescott area (below, among comments on the Hatemobile.) He/she deserves a thoughtful answer; I'll try but it has never been my intent to produce a political or news blog; the Internet is awash in those (though perhaps we need a blog dedicated to local politics. Any volunteers out there?)

However, the poster's remarks certainly reminded me that the Prescott area wasn't always as comfy and laid back as we now take for granted. The beefy cast iron mining and smelting machines in the Sharlot Hall parking lot date from a time that makes our crime situation look puny.

Hard, dangerous work. Hard living. Hard drinking, gambling and whoring. That's the world represented by this heavy iron.

Chicago: Civilization. Industry. One of the machines was made there by the Gates Iron Works in maybe the late 1870s or early 80s. A long haul west to the mountains.

Where the contrast and struggle between the wild and the civilizing forces was major.


Anonymous said...

Looking at those pictures makes me realize the shelter life I have lived. Perhaps not sheltered, but in milder times.

Linda G. said...

Just getting that heavy equipment to Prescott was something. It was shipped to Ehrenburg by barge,then loaded on oxen or mule driven wagons that came around the North side of Granite Mountain and so into town. Then it was loaded {would have had to be in pieces to be assembled at the mines} onto mules or little burros for the trek up the steep trails of the Bradshaws.
The miners also loaded a barrel of whiskey on either side of a little burro, and more than one of these little guys fell over as the liquid weight sloshed to one sde.

Linda G.

Sam G, said...

I once worked for a man in Prescott whose wife was a former clerk of the court. She told me that during her tenure as clerk there were an average of one killing a week on Whiskey Row. She would be called out at all hours to take the statement of offenders and witnesses. Sorry, but I can't remember the dates of her service, but I think in was the late 20s.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of my post was to point out the inadequate "policing" of the Prescott PD. This was in relation to the Neo-Nazi guy that drives around the square and has done so for numerous years without any police intervention.

I am employed in a business that has experienced crime first hand. I had numerous emergencies and I had to call 911. These ranged from meth addicts threatening employees and guests to burglaries in progress. The response time of the police was horrible. I had to wait 15-20 minutes even though it was a 911 emergency.

While these crimes are happening here in Prescott, those in the "retirement communities", have no idea for the most part. I mean NO disrespect to those that are retired but I spoke to a lady who was retired and had no idea that we have a meth problem.

Comparing the crime rate today in Prescott to that of the "wild west" and Prohibition days is not an accurate or reasonable comparison. Any criminal justice agency or the FBI crime rate data source does NOT compare modern crime rates to that of the 1800s and early 1900s. Doing so would be illogical and quite silly.

Prescott in the 1980s versus todays Prescott 2007 is a VAST difference. Both in size and crime. If a police department is employing the same "policing" that it did in the 1980s, it needs a serious overhaul. While I respect the Prescott police officers who risk their lives, it is the ADMINISTRATIVE portion of the department that needs to be redone.

While many here reading this may think I am out of line or I don't know what I am talking about. Let me end with this. Talking with other people in the workforce, they feel the same way. I have spoken to Prescott officers who state the same. Also, I was a police officer for numerous years in a large metropolitan city. So I do speak from experience.

Again, I am sorry if this turned into a "political" issue. I felt the need to voice this concern. I hope residents become aware of the situation here in Prescott. Turning a blind eye or trying to dismiss it will only cause the problem to get worse....

Granny J said...

I think that the question of police response to crime in progress is far more important than harassing a Nazi nutcase spewing his hate-talk. My general impression is that crime gets a low priority rating from the Courier when it comes to what is news in the Prescott area, tho there has certainly been a fair amount of reportage about the meth problem. However, I'd recommend that you write letters and/or an op-ed piece for the Courier and also the lively new weekly paper readitnews which you can pick up free downtown or read online. You'll get a lot more exposure than here at my blog. I'm on your side about getting the word out.

Anonymous said...

Granny J -

Police departments & the politicians DO NOT like crime reports being released to the public. This is a FACT - Departments twist and manipulate crime reports. They only report what they want reported. Crime is bad news for towns. It is not "good publicity". It took forever for Phoenix to come out and announce the Baseline Rapists/Killer and the other serial killer they had.

Prescott is a HUGE retirement destination town for Californians. They are fleeing the crime infestation of Southern California. They will stop coming to Prescott if the crime is bad here. That means lost $$$ for the city. So, police departments keep a tight lid on these things.

I was told numerous times by my superiors that if I told anyone of the crimes being committed that I would face serious disciplinary action. When reporters came into the police station, the deputy chief would only give the reporter what he wanted, he would "filter" the crime reports.

It's a shame but that is what they do. Prescott PD is no different.

Granny J said...

One of the important books for me as a budding journalist was The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. I recall that he and his fellow reporters created a "crime wave" in Cleveland by merely publishing all the everyday crime in the daily Penny Press. When they stopped publishing news about every crime, the "crime wave" was over. When we first moved to Prescott, there was a little free weekly paper that did publish a "police blotter" column with a lot more crime news than found in the Courier. At the time, we lived down in Wilhoit and were always bemused by the lack of any accidents on the White Spar Road through the Prietas, at least as far as the paper was concerned.

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