Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/19/police_raid_glitch/

Computer glitch prompts 50 raids on elderly couple's home

51st time's the charm

By Dan Goodin

Posted in Law, 19th March 2010 18:46 GMT

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized to an elderly Brooklyn couple on Friday for about 50 door-pounding visits police made to their home resulting from a glitch in one of the department's computers.

Police used the address of Rose and and Walter Martin's modest home as part of "random material" to test the automated computer system that tracks crime complaints and records internal police information, a department official told the Associated Press. As a result, police over the past four years have repeatedly banged on their doors and demanded the couple open up.

The most recent raid came Tuesday, when officers pounded on both the front and back doors of the modest abode yelling "Police, open up!"

Police officials thought they had resolved the problem in 2007, when the couple's address was wiped from the system, but that assessment was later proven wrong.

This time, police officials say, the Martins' address has been flagged with an alert, "so if there's any record indicating an officer should visit the address, 'they're barred from doing it,'" the AP said here.

An automated system that tells police not to visit an elderly couple's address? We wouldn't be surprised if the rule of unintended consequences strikes again. ®