Budget cuts are forcing police around the U.S. to stop responding to fraud, burglary, and theft calls as officers focus limited resources on violent crime, says USA Today. Cutbacks places like Oakland, Tulsa, and Norton, Ma. have forced police to tell residents to file their own reports – online or in writing – for break-ins and other lesser crimes.
“If you come home to find your house burglarized and you call, we’re not coming,” said Oakland police spokeswoman Holly Joshi. The city laid off 80 officers from its force of 687 last month and the department can’t respond to burglary, vandalism, and identity theft. “It’s amazing. It’s a big change for us.” Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest U.S. police union, said cutbacks are preventing many police agencies from responding to property crimes. “The chiefs are putting the best face on this they can,” Pasco said. “But think of this: that next property crime could involve a junkie who killed someone the night before.”