Fredericton — The Fredericton Police are asking residents to get creative with their new online crime reporting site to ensure that the wide variety of less “traditional” crimes don’t go unpunished. The site allows people to anonymously report transgressions that then give the police something useful to do.
“We want people to broaden their notion of what ‘crime’ is,” said Police Chief Leanne Fitch. “So if something doesn’t feel right to you — for example you hear someone swear or you see someone staring at their phone while walking on the sidewalk — we want you to report that so we can act accordingly. No crime is too small or vague or imprecise.”
Fredericton resident Kara Gilmore was apprehended on Saturday for distracted walking. “I was uploading a pretty photo of some leaves on the sidewalk to Instagram,” explained Gilmore, “when a cop car pulled up. They made me get in, then they drove me around for like 2 hours lecturing me. They said someone had reported me for distracted walking using that new online ‘tattle-tool.’ Eventually they had to just let me go since looking at the Internet while walking is not a real crime, but it was pretty embarrassing and a waste of my time.”
Another Frederictonian, Keith Horncastle, said police barged into his home on Sunday to grill him on the events of the previous day. “I had no idea, but apparently the cashier at Superstore heard me swear under my breath when I was waiting in the checkout line, she reported me, and the cops came to make sure I would never again use ‘inappropriate language.’ They even fined me $125 for something I had no idea was illegal. I guess it goes to show that the cops are pretty desperate for a win right now.”
Fitch gave more examples of reportable offenses. “One issue that runs rampant in the streets of Fredericton is unneighbourly conduct. This could mean butting in line at Tim Hortons. Or failing to mow your lawn, thus offending anyone who walks by your yard. Or not giving a police officer a discount when they visit your place of employment — I’m talking to you, Domino’s.”
Police are considering an upgrade to the online tool which will allow people to report possible unwholesome thoughts and desires. “If you suspect someone is lusting after you, or if someone gave you a dirty look, you should report that as well,” said Fitch. “Or if someone shares a Facebook status that you don’t like. I hesitate to call it ‘thought crime,’ but that’s essentially what it is. How can Frederictonians feel safe if anyone can think or say anything about them?
“If people can’t control their own thoughts, we’ll do it for them.”
Our reporter asked Fitch what she hopes will be the outcome of letting citizens decide who the criminals are.
“In the end, this will empower Frederictonians,” she stated. “Well, the good ones; the bad ones will be too afraid to speak or leave their homes, which will make our jobs a whole lot easier.”