Sensationalized crime story  - Waterloo Region RecordToday’s Waterloo Region Record features a story about a “home invasion” prominently on the front of the local section.

It begins:

Michael Harrison’s house at 12 Borden Ave. was his dream home.

But on the night of Aug. 11, 2011, it became a house of horror.

Absolutely incredible!

Yes, a house was invaded but there was no home invasion as the facts in the story clearly indicate:

  • two people entering the house went straight for the basement (i.e. they knew that was the place to go)
  • one of the victims handed over $3,000 (how many of us keep that kind of cash around?)
  • a half pound of marijuana was also given out of a basement safe (you can put two and two together)

Yes, there was a horrific crime and everyone who unlawfully entered that house that night should be charged, face trial and be punished.

But to describe it as the invasion of someone’s dream home! I don’t think so. Here’s a letter to the editor I’ve already submitted.

When someone reads about a home invasion of someone’s dream home, they naturally fear that it could happen to them. I’m shocked at The Record’s coverage of a so-called home invasion. The facts in the story clearly indicate that this home was targeted for its large quantities of drugs and cash.

Sensationalizing this crime story as if it could happen to anyone in our community is irresponsible and benefits no one. It only feeds the myths supporting Stephen Harper’s tough on crime agenda. Let’s report crime accurately so that we can address its root causes rather than its myths.

This story includes plenty of interesting information to include in a captivating story that people want to read–and I might add sells newspapers. I urge them to stick to the facts rather than making crime out to be worse than it really is.

Here is what I have written in response to this crime. I stand by these words.

4 thoughts on “Sensational crime didn’t need to be sensationalized

  1. You have already been contacted about how rude and insensitive this is. Your facts along with the Records facts are only as accurate as someone who knows this man for 5 minutes can be. I worked with this man at Zerhs when he was 15 and back then, that was his dream…owning a home. The fact that the truth was explained to you by his family and yet you still leave these trashy posts up is really a testament to your character or lack there of. Thinking your blog should remained the Enquirer. Yours truly, someone who ACTUALLY knows what I am talking about when I open my mouth.

    1. I’m sorry you’re so upset Adam. I have shared my perspective and now you have shared yours. I’m sure there are still facts that neither of us know so I don’t think either us has any right to claim we know everything.

      Yes, I was contacted by Michael’s sister. I thanked her for providing me with her side of the story and that I would take it into account if I wrote any more on this topic. I also said I was glad that one of the men who entered the home had been caught, tried and convicted of this disturbing attack and that I would never say anyone deserved to attacked like that.

      Even with his sister’s information, I’m not sure if I am wrong. My neighbours too have a side of the story and had concerns before this incident.

      In the recent court case, the defence lawyer indicated the attack was targeted and not random. When people hear home invasion, they think of it as random. While I know more now than when I wrote this post, I’m not convinced yet that it was random.

      But if you or anyone else has information that could convince me, I’d appreciate learning about it.

      The bottom line though is that no matter the full details of what happened and why our three levels of government must do more to address the root causes of crime so that everyone feels safe and secure.

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