It’s not clear whether the police department paid a civilian or just used an undercover cop to cross the street back and forth in hopes that the police hiding around the corner would catch those drivers who didn’t yield to the crossing pedestrian. They claim this is making the streets safer.
If they’re going to be pulling people over for not yielding to crossing pedestrians, they don’t need to set up a sting operation. Unless of course this really isn’t about making anyone safer. Apparently, each citation costs $200. If police staked out an intersection for a few hours and had someone walk back and forth across the street, they could make some serious dough.
Here’s a video that a resident made of the Somerville PD in Massachusetts conducting what appears to be a crosswalk sting:
The Somerville PD reacted to the video in a Facebook post:
“The City of Somerville takes safety very seriously and pedestrian safety is no exception. Somerville experiences on average 47 pedestrian accidents per year, and a pedestrian was killed just last month in a crosswalk in Davis Square. As the cars speeding by the pedestrian in this video show, increased enforcement is clearly needed for crosswalks. Just as we enforce stop signs, speeding and red lights, we must enforce crosswalk regulations as well to ensure resident safety, especially the safety of children and seniors. This intersection has seen a number of pedestrian and cyclist accidents over the years and was recently identified as one of the top intersections of concern in the city. At intersections such as this where drivers clearly are not stopping as required, we prefer to have an officer out there rather than wait for an unsuspecting resident to risk getting hit.
The Somerville Police Department worked with state and federal transportation and public safety agencies to target this area specifically to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
Additionally, the city restriped or added more than 2,000 crosswalks citywide, added or repaired more than 1,800 damaged or faded traffic signs, and installed about 300 reflective signs for added visibility on pedestrian and stop signs. We’re trying to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians in crosswalks and know when to stop. But when they fail to do so, it is our duty to enforce the laws that keep our residents safe.”
I can’t help but notice in the video the cop speeding past everyone else and the “pedestrian” to nab the offending driver.
This is very similar to red light cameras. They target particularly busy intersections in order to yield more tickets. Officials will say that they target the busier ones, because they’re more accident prone, and the cameras will help reduce T-bone collisions. The other side is that because it’s a busy intersection, it will yield more citations and therefore more revenue. When revenue from that intersection begins to tank, they move the camera elsewhere.
This is really the result of having regulative laws instead of punitive ones. Regulative laws for things like speeding, stopping at stop signs and red lights, and yielding to pedestrians might be well intentioned, but they’ve simply turned into revenue-generators for police departments. So much so that they’d set up sting operations and pretty much beg drivers to violate traffic codes so that they can ticket them.
Punitive laws, as the word suggests, would punish people not for violating a code, but for committing a crime. If someone gets hit, and he’s killed or injured, or if there’s property damage, you deal with those appropriately and harshly if necessary, and I bet that would be a better deterrent than the money-making regulative laws they have now. But if all you have is a code violation and nothing else, then there’s no crime committed. There’s nothing to prosecute. That also means there wouldn’t be a whole lot of money to make.