Philadelphia detectives no longer will respond promptly to reports of residential burglaries unless more than $25,000 was stolen or the victim was at home when the burglary was committed, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Under a new order, the “processing” of the vast majority of home burglary scenes now is to be handled by uniformed officers, instead of detectives. When a detective processes a scene, it includes everything from interviewing the victim about the crime to dusting for fingerprints and examining the inside and outside of the burglary scene.
Chief of Detectives Joseph Fox said processing by patrol officers will be limited to dusting for fingerprints, a task he described as “not rocket science.” The Daily News says some law enforcement sources object to the new procedure. “This is going to be a disaster,” said a veteran detective, who asked not to be identified. “I can just see the reaction of a victim when I show up two or three days later and explain that I couldn’t get there earlier because not enough money was stolen.” Fox said the change was not an attempt to save money. More than 10,000 burglaries and attempted burglaries are reported annually in the city, crime statistics show, with very few claiming more than $25,000 was taken. The statewide average claim for property stolen in burglaries is $1,458. For all practical purposes, the $25,000 threshold means detectives will not be in on the start of investigations most residential burglaries.