Revenue enhancement strategy for Dayton Police Department

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.

What do you think? If you like this post, please consider donating to my campaign. Practical politicians don’t get elected for free.

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13 Responses

  1. Gary March 4, 2012 / 8:26 pm
    I’m voting for you David.  I cannot send you any money because … well you should know my situation by now …
    What kills me is, with the police, is that why do they send out a dozen or more coppers when a crime is committed, when they would only need half that amount I suspect.  I live on Burkhardt, and last week there was a bad wreck, a chase and a robbery I think at Kroger, and my streets were literally lit up with a barage of cop cars speeding down my street, loud and flashing.
    Sometimes I just think some people don’t have a brain, or something like that.  People compete on how much they know.  When I have a few beers and a smoke, I start laughing at all the pragmatic and phony folks out there who haven’t have a clue on what’s going on.  And I’m referring to how crooked and unfair things are for our citizens, like the gas prices and taxes we pay.
    It’s so unfair when some professionals make gobs of money and those who struggle with more menial talents go broke and hungry.
     

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  2. Dan March 5, 2012 / 9:47 am
    It’s a nice thought, but actually collecting those fines would be the trick. Most of the people drawn into the criminal life do so because they don’t have money to begin with. If you are able to collect a fine then they have to steal more to make up for money they barely had to begin with. So then your left with jail time which instead costs the state more. It’s kind of a catch 22.

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  3. Diane March 5, 2012 / 10:14 am
    Yup, I agree with Dan. What’s the city’s leverage when you send these property owners a bill, and they blow it off? Nothing! Obviously a bill doesn’t get their attention, or they wouldn’t be behind on their property taxes.

    That’s why speed traps work so well. You’re statistically just as likely to snag some middle- and upper-class folks along with the poor people. The people who can afford to pay the ticket are just gonna pay it, knowing full well they were speeding anyway, and not take the time or inconvenience themselves by going to court to fight it. Easier to just write the check and move on.

    Personally, I don’t speed. In fact, every day during my commute I set my cruise control on 30 or 35 MPH so I don’t get a ticket. I also hope to lead by example (LOL). It would suit me fine if the police had a speed trap on every major street in Dayton during morning and evening rush hours. The city would be out of debt in no time, and people might actually pay attention to the posted limits.

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  4. David Esrati March 5, 2012 / 10:29 am

    The point isn’t so much to fine them, but to take the house away. Owners who rent to bad tenants will have a real reason to kick them out, owners who cause problems will be putting their home at risk.

    The fines won’t be collected- the house will be.

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  5. Diane March 5, 2012 / 11:03 am
    The houses would be collected? Seriously? I can’t see how this would work. Do we really want our local government in the business of confiscating personal property? I sure don’t.

    Besides, what would Dayton do with all the houses after they took them? The city seems to have its hands more than full dealing with the deteriorating housing stock issues they already have.

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  6. Diane March 5, 2012 / 11:05 am
    Don’t get me wrong, David – I feel your frustration and don’t think I could handle having neighbors like that on my street. Why do some people have to act like such asses?

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  7. David Esrati March 5, 2012 / 11:40 am

    @Diane, we already have a program that seizes drug houses. We need one for frequent criminal activity. Trust me. I lived here for 23 years without crime- and since they moved in, well, if you’ve read this site- you know about the break ins. Never mind our peaceful neighborhood isn’t as peaceful.

     

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  8. Gary March 5, 2012 / 1:37 pm
    I’d hate to lose my house!  But property taxes and bills can be financed, or for the layman, paid in increments, but; I suspect some folks are just too lazy or dumb and won’t write out a check, put a stamp on it and mail it.  Seriously, I know folks like that!
    And also, I’m sure the City would be happy to demolish your home for you, ha, ha.  I’m speaking of the ones that are drug infested, etc.  What is the City’s problem?  At the City Commission Meetings they speak of all these City problems and ways to fix it, but, NOTHING IS BEING DONE!  At least our City Schools are looking better!  :-)

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  9. Gary March 5, 2012 / 8:38 pm
    Retract, Dayton and the County did build a new jail, Riverscape, the ball park, Care Source, Relizon and tool town, and west Third.  And many new schools.  I shant complain.  But most of that is outside, structural; what about some internal changes?

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  10. Bubba Jones July 3, 2012 / 10:16 am
    Looks like the efforts to stop spammers are working well!! ;)
     

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  11. David Esrati July 3, 2012 / 10:39 am

    @Bubba- I’m really trying- changed a few plugin settings- so far no luck. I’m really sorry.

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  12. Bubba Jones July 3, 2012 / 11:44 am
    Just yankin’ your chain a little bit, David!!  Hence the ” ;) “.  

    I have a small BBS that got spammed a while back.  I ended up with about 3000 spam messages on it.  I know how tough it is.

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