31 May 2008

The Start of the Silly Season for the Newark PD

Graduation day has pleasantly passed, most of the students have moved out, and summer has (finally and belatedly) arrived. Given the amount of time the Newark police spend harassing the students, the large reduction in their "perceived" workload (fewer of those awful students having fun) should mean more time that they can devote to, you know, fighting crime.

Yeah, right. I've lived here long enough to know that the Newark police see this as "harass the non-college populace" time of the year. More speed traps (e.g. Papermill Road's northbound "25 zone" where the southbound portion OF THE SAME ROAD, which actually has businesses and residences, is a reasonable 35 zone), more extracting money for the auto insurance companies, still no devotion to doing something about crime or increasing actual safety.

And for those of us who walk around Newark at night, there is now even less safety. The "safety in numbers" provided by the large number of students is gone, replaced by...easier targets and fewer witnesses. With no police usefully in sight. Because the major problems in this town must be addressed by police in the daylight. Of course.

22 May 2008

There Might Be Some Resistance to the Über-Kops?

During the Champions League match I observed a small band of protesters moseying down Main Street. As I left Grotto after the match, they happened to return. Hey, they're protesting the heavy-handed nature and the questionable priorities of the Newark PD! I can support those goals! As I walked with them, I heard tales of Newark PD heavy-handedness that I had seen from afar or suspected. Getting the stories down may (MAY) help people realize that all those dollars being spent to beef up the police force in the name of crime-fighting are, uh, not being very well spent.
Their goals: to photographically document the Newark PD doing things not related to fighting the actual crime problem in this city. In order to encourage a change in the directions and priorities of the Newark PD. Otherwise stated: to get the police to do what should be their actual job. You know, to make the city more safe and secure. Rather than randomly harrassing law-abiding citizens on miniscule formal violations (20 year-olds drinking; people congregating and talking socially; people driving 37 in a "25" zone (that should be a 35 zone); etc.), because there's money to be made in minor formal violations!

Why I Love Living in Newark (part 752)

Spectacular crowd yesterday at Grotto for the Champions League final. Very loud supporters for both Chelsea and ManU, a packed bar, a great match (even if a few balls off the crossbar led to the forces of evil winning). It all made for a great afternoon. 

The international aspect of UD, especially the number of students who study abroad and the way that time overseas changes their outlook, is something I just didn't appreciate, even in my first few years here. The intensity of passions for this match was undeniable, and made for one of my favorite recent experiences watching sports. I can't wait for Euro 2008.

10 May 2008

Police Priorities - Working at 8 a.m. or 11 p.m.?

My drive to and from work is about 1.5 miles. In the morning I seem to see a police officer every other day (and if I don't see one while driving, one will pass me on Main Street as I'm grabbing coffee). There's serious police work to do at 8 a.m., I'm sure, certainly they're focusing on the serious crime in Newark. All these muggings obviously occur in the morning hours when productive citizens are rushing to work.

Contrast the mornings with my experience last night.

At 10:30 p.m. I went out running. My 5.5-mile run took me on such obscure and low-traffic streets as Elkton Road, Park Place, S College Ave, Cleveland Ave, Papermill Road, Hillside Road, and Apple Road. Streets that have never seen a mugging, certainly not between 10:30 and 11:30 at night. People should feel completely safe walking these roads alone. Obviously. Since I didn't see a single Newark police officer the entire hour while running.

The city council keeps approving more police officers to combat the crime problem. Too bad the police force doesn't care about assigning officers to work in a way that might actually do something about the crime problem.