Police and PR Problems

Ed Morrison writes that some suburban police around Cleveland have developed a bad reputation for their strict enforcement of traffic and parking laws. Apparently all it takes is one or two parking tickets or moving violations for people to feel utter resentment for the place where they received them?

As I've written before, this is at least partially the product of car-culture. There are many otherwise model citizens who become lawbreakers only once they get behind the wheel of a car. Before long people begin to develop a sort of Pavlovian conditioning to the sight of a police car. They tense up and cringe at the thought of getting "busted by the cops" in presumably a similar way that a smash-and-grab crook would feel if some officers walked into the store he was about to rob.

(from flickr user KCIvey)

I'd be thrilled if the suburb in question moved some of its police to foot patrol or bike patrol. Both pedestrian cops and bike cops have the deterrent effect that is helpful in controlling crime in a certain area (like a dense neighborhood where many people visit at night); with the added bonus of eliminating the negative feelings that many people feel for police patrolling in cars.

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