Stakeouts of businesses by private citizens have helped police catch alleged criminals in Framingham and Holliston, Ma., but local police departments discourage people from starring in their own crime dramas, says the Metro West (Ma.) Daily News. This month, the owner of a cigar company conducted early morning stakeouts of his own business for almost a week before he helped police catch an alleged serial vandal. Last week, a hardware-store manager foiled a robbery attempt by confronting the alleged thief and keeping him there until police arrived.
“I understand people get frustrated,” said Scott Rohmer, Ashland’s interim police chief. “We as the police department can’t be everywhere, and that’s an important link. But most of the time, people should probably call 911.” Wayland Police Chief Robert Irving does not want people confronting suspects, and instead counsels them to call police if they witness a crime in progress. Hudson Police Chief Richard Braga emphasizes measures such as installing cameras and better lighting, and asking neighbors to be more alert for problems. “We take the position that it’s not worth risking your life for a piece of property,” Braga said. “You don’t know what a person is going to do.”