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Not much crime at Connecticut casinos?

By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published March 06. 2013 4:00AM

In the world of keeping the public informed and issuing press releases, police are traditionally much more forthcoming in reporting arrests than reporting crimes.

It makes sense, of course.

Everyone would rather report on successes than on possible failure. Police would rather tell you about crimes they've solved than talk about the bad guys who might get away.

One exception are the cases in which the public is asked to help. In this category, press releases often include surveillance photos of the suspects and a suggestion that the public might report whatever is known.

A report on an attempted rape at the Mohegan Sun casino this week seems to fall into this category. State police released surveillance photos of the suspect and asked that anyone with information about him call.

Still, police don't often issue press releases about unsolved crimes at the casinos, especially rape.

Crime watchers tend to agree that relatively little crime seems to get reported at the Connecticut casinos, given the number of people and the large amounts of liquor and cash sloshing around the places. Not a great deal is prosecuted anyway.

Norwich police not long ago turned up some serious allegations of casino-related prostitution and suggestions of human trafficking in an investigation that occurred completely off the reservation.

It's hard to know whether the candor from the state police this week has anything to do with police union opposition to Gov. Malloy's proposal, now pending before the legislature, to move much of the casino policing from the backs of state police, reimbursed by the tribes for casino police coverage, to tribal police.

In any event, it's a timely reminder of the importance of keeping a full complement of state police troopers at the two casinos.

Surely if you could aim a crime-seeking satellite monitor on the state, the casinos would glow a bright red.

The serious crime reported this week at Mohegan Sun was the kind of thing that I think people should expect Connecticut police to respond to, no matter how well trained tribal police may be.

Wouldn't state citizens feel more comfortable if state police, rather than tribal police, were investigating an attempted rape in which the suspect fled the casino and presumably the reservation?

Wouldn't it be better to leave it with investigators who know no geographic boundaries?

According to police, the incident occurred a little after 3 a.m. Saturday when a man approached a woman inside the casino and offered to sell her drugs. She got money from an ATM and followed the man outside to a parking lot, police said.

The suspect then grabbed the woman by the arm and dragged her into a wooded area, the police press release said.

The woman managed to escape after the attempted assault began and ran back into the casino to report the incident, police said. She was treated at the hospital for what police described as minor injuries.

It would be nice to think that such crimes are rare indeed at the casinos and that the reservations would hardly turn even pink under the scrutiny of some crime-seeking satellite.

But I suspect the relatively low level of casino crime is odd, especially the lack of prosecutions of white collar crimes related to the gambling. It wasn't that long ago that police reported active organized crime activity here.

If I were Gov. Malloy I would be pushing more chips on the table toward increased Connecticut police coverage at the casinos, not less, especially when the tribes are clearly required by a court-imposed compact to pay for it.

This is the opinion of David Collins

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