Wednesday, May 31, 2006

California Crooks

A couple of crime stories from the Golden State have impressed me recently. In "Risking a Life Term to Protect a Child," Sean Webby of the San Jose Mercury News tells the story of Matthew Ryan Hahn, a convicted burglar who stole a safe only to find inside evidence of a much more horrible crime. Webby describes Hahn's agonizing decision of whether to turn the evidence over to police and risk getting caught himself, or to keep quiet and preserve his own freedom. Webby's taut writing -- notice his potent action verbs -- make this a compelling read.

A bit further north, Phillip Reese of the Sacramento Bee uses mapping and data base software combined with old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting to identify the Sacramento neighborhoods where crime is rising the fastest. I like how "Watchdog Report: Bearing the Brunt of Violent Crime" humanizes what could have been a dry statistical story by using specific examples from residents' lives.


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