Monday, April 17, 2006

Chevy Chase Residents Want Police, But Not Law Enforcement

The Washington Times reports:

Chevy Chase residents say they are getting more than they bargained for now that the Metropolitan Police Department is providing steady, overnight patrols in their Northwest neighborhood. They say officers are ticketing their vehicles for everything from parking too close to a driveway to having improperly affixed stickers.

"The objection here is to action that is being taken in the middle of the night by a police department that appears to be focused on making a fast buck by skulking around while residents sleep," resident Simon Marks wrote on an online forum. "I have simply never heard of parking tickets being issued at 3 a.m. to residents who have parked their cars outside their own homes. It's senseless and not the kind of additional parking enforcement that will make any of us safer."

An official in the police department's 2nd District, which includes Chevy Chase, said officers walk the neighborhood for several hours overnight and must have something to show for their work. When no crimes are being committed and there are no criminals to arrest, he said, ticketing illegally parked cars is productive work.

I applaud the ticketings. Residents want the police to patrol, and the police see illegally parked vehicles. By combining patrols with ticket-writing, residents are can feel more secure and often-ignored laws can be enforced. Illegal parking is still illegal at night, it just is ignored far too often.
Some said they were not aware that they had done something illegal, such as having too many registration stickers on a vehicle window, a violation that carries a $20 fine.
So now they are aware. A warning might be nice, but that's a really small fine.
"We have our share of vandalism," said Chevy Chase resident Sue Hemberger. "You have days where you have three dozen cars in a row get hit, so there's thefts from auto and vandalism. ... It seems unreasonable to me to demand more enforcement and then complain when you get it."

1 comment:

April said...

$20 bucks really isn't much if you live in Chevy Chase.