Today I saw a police car on U.S. 35 running a speed trap. This is called a “revenue enhancement strategy” by some police officers, bringing dollars into the government’s pockets from fines. The problem is, if you challenge the ticket and go to court, paying the police officer to come in to court, plus the court costs turn the whole mess into a negative revenue stream.
So much for speeding tickets.
The City of Dayton decided several years back to fine property owners for false alarm calls. The first two calls per year were free, after that, the fine kept going up. So instead of calling dispatch immediately. the alarm company calls me first. When my office was being broken into, I went across the street with my cell phone and flashlight to find the front door busted open and my office trashed. When the cops caught the criminals about 4 hours later – it turned out one of them had a gun. Good thing it took me a few minutes to find my keys that night.
Last week I got these stats from our neighborhood police officer about calls over the period from Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2012 to one house near me:
Total number of calls- 33. This number reflects the calls made for police service as well as officers putting themselves on an investigation at this location.
The calls were broken down into categories.
- Wanted 5
- 911 4
- Juvenile 4
- Family Trouble 3
- Miscellaneous 3
- Medical 2
- Alarm 1
- Noise 1
- Domestic Violence 1
- Drugs 1
- DWOC 1
- Burg 1
- DWI 1
- Transport 1
- Assault 1
- Intox 1
- Fight 1
- Suspicious 1
There were 6 complaint reports and 1 memo report at this address.
There were 7 arrests at this location.
That’s one call every 22 days.
The house in question is behind on taxes. The taxes are only $744 a year due to buying the home out of foreclosure, and yet they owe $2,622.52. They not only don’t pay for police service, but they receive an unwarranted amount of it.
Their house is actually bigger than mine, yet, despite paying about the same to purchase mine in 1986 as they paid in 2009, their taxes are less than half of mine.
Instead of fining taxpaying citizens for false alarms, why aren’t we fining our criminal element for abuse of services? If we calculate the cost of a police call to a residence at a nominal $120 (2 officers, 1 hour each, $60 an hour) their 33 calls come out to $3,960. The costs could be levied against the property tax bill and either the house gets shut down until fines are paid, or the property gets seized as a nuisance and sold to pay the fines.
Former Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, once said: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” and uncivilized neighbors who can’t follow the rules cause my property values to drop, my quality of life to suffer and the cost of my government to rise. Instead of locking them up (which also costs us all) it’s time to place the costs of their criminal behavior back on the criminals.
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