Think before you initiate a citizen’s arrest

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 18, 2012

Everybody loves a good citizen’s arrest story.

Regular Joes who fight crime and win inspire us all to be brave, bold and protective of our friends, family and possessions.

So it was great to hear that a group of Dumas Drive residents worked together Tuesday night to stop crime on their street.

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One resident called the police to report a burglary in progress. Then she called her neighbors. Before police arrived, the neighbors had surrounded the house and tackled the intruder upon his exit.

Apparently they promptly delivered a few sucker punches and quickly detained the criminal.

When police arrived, the burglar was arrested.

It’s a great story, and a wonderful happy ending.

But the truth is, it’s rarely a good idea for citizens to take law enforcement into their own hands.

Few residents are armed, trained and mentally ready to fight crime.

And not all criminals have good common sense.

The scene on Dumas Drive could have been a tragedy had the burglar come out firing.

That wasn’t the case this time, and it’s great that the neighbors were willing to protect a friend.

But the story might not be the same next time.

If at all possible, let the professionals handle the criminals.

We hope with the turmoil of election season nearly behind us that the City of Natchez’s new administration will work quickly to get the right chief of police permanently in place.

We hope that chief will, in turn, lead our men and women in blue in a way that reminds all citizens that crime fighting is best left to law enforcement.