Group asks police to hit snooze on “wake-up” policy

Posted at 10:29 PM, Apr 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-26 06:59:18-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - A new Richmond Police initiative called “Operation: Wake-up Call" has one group questioning if the plan could actually trigger a confrontation instead of curbing property crime.

As part of “Operation: Wake-up Call" if a Richmond Police officer sees your car with valuables inside left in plain view, they’ll knock on your door to warn you about becoming a crime victim.

Now  the Rutherford Institute, a self-described civil liberties organization, has sent a letter to the Richmond Police Department questioning the program.

The group called “Wake-up Call” a recipe for a nightmare, adding officers knocking on doors in the early morning could trigger a confrontation.

"I'm for police protection but I'm not on-board with waking up in the middle of the night,” said Bellevue neighbor Jane Leipis. “I think it creates a lot of fear factor for people."

But not everyone thinks the program is a bad thing.

"I'll put on my bath robe and get whatever it was,” Jacqueline Gooding said.  “[Then] lock my door and thank them.”

Gooding’s next-door neighbors had their car broken into. She said “wake-up” policing helped keep crime down since it began earlier this month.

"We used to get at least one notice a week about break ins,” said Gooding.  “We've had nothing for 2 or 3 weeks now."

A wake-up call is triggered when an officer on patrol between midnight and 4 a.m. sees valuables inside a car. Using motor vehicle records, police verify the owner of the car, then wake the owner up to have him remove the items before a thief does.

Richmond Police said they have received the letter from the Rutherford Institute and are now reviewing the policy.