Letter to the Editor | ‘Gratuitous PR for the Police Department’

'Do we really need to be alerted to every incident that comes across the police desk?'

Letters to the Editor | SouthPasadenan.com News

Dear Editor,

I am troubled by a string of articles coming out in The South Pasadenan online over the last week.

The first article involves a modest increase in the crime rate but is written to leave the impression that South Pasadena has been suffering a surge in violent crime, when in reality it amounts to a few extra car burglaries and then goes further to implicate the Covid Prison Release Program with the increase in crimes even though the program hadn’t happened yet. Secondly, the paper reprints a Police Department press release indicating they caught several burglary suspects, which in and of itself has no news value to the community other than amplifying what will eventually appear on the crime page in the printed edition. Similarly, the article of Sept. 7 on the deceased woman found at the train station is simply a reprint of a Police Department press release, no new information is given and it has no impact on the community other than it’s troubling and ominous tone. The subtitle even adds, ‘Foul Play Not Initially Suspected’, the only time the idea of foul play is even mentioned is by this editorial choice.

- Advertisement -

This woman died on a day when the temperatures reached 113 degrees. The article makes no mention of that. Could not the subtitle have read ‘Cause Of Death Has Not Been Determined’ or ‘Excessive Temperatures Not A Determining Factor’. Was she unhoused, did she die from the heat and if so, was a lack of city and county services to blame for her situation? The article doesn’t say, it only describes that the police were on the scene. As a counter example, the press release regarding the potential ‘city employee imposter’ is justified as it alerts the community to a possible ongoing threat.

The one thing these articles do succeed in however is acting as gratuitous PR for the Police Department, promoting an image of our city beset with crime and reminding us that the police are doing their job. This is peculiar timing given recent calls by many, including myself, for a reduction in the police budget to help our city during this fiscal crisis and those who question the need for such a large force in such a small, low-crime town.

I value what the paper is bringing to this community and respect the difficulty of operating a news outlet in these times. Perhaps, like many online news outlets, the paper is attempting to feed the need for content and using these statements in lieu of reporting, but I beg you to consider the impact that a steady stream of crime news does to a small community. Particularly in a time like this, when we are suffering through a pandemic, wildfires, political divisiveness, unemployment and a recession. Do we really need to be alerted to every incident that comes across the police desk? Given the fear-driven nature of national news, we all look to our local news for objective, simple and necessary reporting.

Thank you,

Matthew Barbato

South Pasadena Resident





Editorial Disclaimer

The South Pasadenan News welcomes letters to the editor on a wide variety of subjects from all points of view. Letters submitted to the publication may or may not be published at the editor’s discretion. All letters must be signed. Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of The South Pasadenan News, its Publisher, its staff or its advertisers. The words of the author are their own.

External Website Hyperlink Disclaimer

The SouthPasadenan.com News provides thousands of online stories and advertisements. Editors and or submitted content will sometimes provide hyperlinks to external websites for the convenience and clarity for our readers. The South Pasadenan News does not control any of the content of these external websites, and does not assume and is not responsible for any liability whatsoever for the linking to any of these linked external websites. Hyperlinks to external sites by The South Pasadenan News should not be considered an endorsement of submitted content, the external sites and/or their operators, nor is it an endorsement or guarantee of any of the information provided on these sites. Questions related to information found on linked external sites is for informational purposes, and it’s up to the reader to do their own research on any given topic.

The South Pasadena News does its best to be useful and accurate with the information we have. If there is an inaccuracy or error, email us: Media@SouthPasadenan.com.  If you have a different opinion than what was published, submit a letter to the editor.



  1. There is nothing gratuitous about reporting what is happening in our city. What is troubling to me is the authors suggestion that the South Pasadenan refrain from reporting certain news in our city because it might, in some way, have a negative impact on our “small community”.

    Please, I believe our “small community” is strong and mature enough to face the truth. The truth being, we do have crime in our city.

    What is also true is the authors attemp to censure the news media because the reporting does not fit the authors political views.

    Can you say Donald Trump!🤬 (There is absolutely no difference between the way Trump attempts to censure the press and what the author is attempting to do!🤬🤬🤬🤬).