Patrick Comey | Wondering About Crime Stories, Letters

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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I am a Signal subscriber so I read the paper almost every day. 

In the last few months I’ve seen many stories that report the arrest of a person but in many, many cases the name of the arrestee is missing. Since names are public information (unless that changed) I think they should be published. Reading an article about an unnamed person is not very interesting or helpful. 

Today I read that sheriff’s deputies arrested a son on suspicion of theft from his mom. Yesterday I read that two suspected street racers were arrested. I also read about a California Highway Patrol arrest of a driver on suspicion of DUI, but the arrest was in the San Fernando Valley. The only tie was that it was Newhall CHP. 

Finally, I see many letters to the editor that are excessively wordy, i.e., too long. Have you thought about setting a limit on the length of the letters? I think that might encourage some of the writers to write more coherently. You’ll note that all of my letters to the editor are short and to the point (plus, I don’t write every week, like some of your writers). 

Thank you for considering my thoughts. 

Patrick Comey

Santa Clarita

Editor’s note: Thanks for the questions, Patrick. Regarding names in crime stories: In the interest of fairness, particularly since crime stories now live forever on the internet, we elect not to use the names of suspects on most minor crimes. Our general rule of thumb is, if we plan to follow the case through the courts to its completion, we will use the name, since the outcome — including charges being dropped or reduced, acquittals, etc. — will also be reported. It’s admittedly a judgment call on whether we will follow a particular case through the courts, and it’s not possible to follow every one, so we apply standards of news judgment to those decisions. Regarding length of letters: We do edit letters for length, and if you think some are too long now you should see the originals. But, we do not enforce a strict word count limit. That’s a choice we’ve made in the spirit of making our opinion page as open as possible to those who want to participate. Short letters do tend to run more quickly than long ones.

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