“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
– Erin Bury
Dear World At Large,
Hey! We haven’t talked in a while, but you seem well and up to your old tricks, hence this little note of clarification.
As we’ve discussed previously, technology is not always your friend. Your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are actually public information and can be used to bring your deeds (criminal or just criminally silly) to light. However, we need to have an honest conversation about another side effect of your media habits.
This is a conversation I had yesterday:
“Hello, my backpack was stolen.”
“Alright, ma’am, you’ll need to come into our department to make a report to one of our -”
“No I don’t.”
“I’m talking to you, aren’t I? This is making a police report.”
“No, ma’am, to make a police report you must – except in very unique circumstances – speak to a police officer in person. I’m not an officer, I’m a secretary. I can give you limited advice and assistance, but that’s it.”
“Fine, put a police officer on the phone.”
“I can if you’d like, ma’am, but they will tell you the same thing: you’ll have to come into our office.”
“Seriously?! [choice language censored]”
Last week I spoke to a gentleman on the phone, the conversation went thus:
“Hello, I’m looking at your website and I don’t see where I can report a crime.”
“Well, we have the option of reporting anonymous tips or voicing concerns online -”
“No, you don’t understand. I’m being stalked by my ex-fiancee and I want to report it.”
“You’ll have to come into our office to do that, sir.”
“What?! I can’t just send you an email and you take care of it?”
“No, sir. Typically an officer will need to ask you many questions to adequately understand your situation, verify your identity, and work with you specifically to assist you.”
” [Expletive], can’t you guys just have an app or something?”
The truth is, dear World at Large, there are in fact some things that you still need to do face to face. We may be moving towards that point, but there isn’t an app for everything. You are still required to appear in person from time to time. Give your thumbs a break and come and talk to me in real life, I’m charming!
Yours with love,