Saturday, June 27, 2009

Poll: Do police make you feel safe?

I caught this quote at the Chicago Breaking News Center about the security measures at the annual Taste of Chicago:
Today Weis would not say how many officers would be staffing the event. "Folks will feel very safe because they're going to see a police officer on almost every block, and in some instances 20 feet, so we're going to have a very hard presence in terms of letting people know we have a lot of officers in place," Weis said.
My first instinct upon reading the article was to recoil. A police officer on almost every block? Yikes! I didn't feel safe reading that. The presumption that "more cops makes people feel safe" used to seem very strange to me. After all, the primary purpose of a police officer in Bozeman, MT is to issue traffic tickets around the MSU campus.

When I saw a police car in Bozeman, it didn't make me feel safe, but in Chicago, I understand how more police can enhance the safety of an event. Maybe a cop every 20 feet is overkill, but police in Chicago generally make me feel safer.

On the other hand, maybe the abundance of cops is a signal that I should be concerned for my own safety. Honestly, I don't know what to think. In either case, I don't think that more police always means that ordinary people feel safer. That brings me to the the question of the week: When you see a police officer, do you feel safer?

A simple Yes or No answer is great, but if you have comments on the issue please share in the box below. The poll is on the sidebar, so please vote early and often. Tell your friends and local police officers to vote. That is, if you're not too scared to talk to them. The poll is open for a week. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.


  1. NOOOOO cops are terrifying. it would seem like the internet is maybe a LITTLE bit skewed towards cop fearing though

  2. Thirsty in MontanaJune 29, 2009 at 8:27 PM

    It depends. If I'm in Butte, Montana, and driving to Wendy's for a late dinner with a beer in the cup holder, I'm not feeling particularly safe, but if I'm visiting Chicago and I'm walking back from the subway to Michigan Ave andI see a cop, I definatly feel safer.

  3. No.

    Where there is smoke there is fire.... and where there are TONS of police, there are serious problems with crime in that area.

  4. St. Patrick's Day parade event, during which there were plenty of police officers around keeping an eye on things, I witnessed a deranged man repeatedly beat another man over the head with a lead pipe.

    A nearby cop saw the scene unfold, and SIGHED, as if he were being disturbed. The man with the pipe ran away, and the officer continued to walk at his own pace toward the victim who was now doubled over on the ground. He made no move to chase after the attacker, just sauntered over, helped the injured man to his feet, and asked if he was okay (he wasn't).

    Police officers aren't superheroes. They are flawed people who have been produced from the same society that we have. They're jaded, and they're tired, and they just want to put in their hours and get paid so they can feed their families, just like anybody else. So to answer your question: no way. Most of them are good people, but they certainly don't make me feel safer.


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