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Does traffic diversion reduce crime?

Original post made on Dec 23, 2008

Over the course of the debate on whether to conduct a traffic study in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park, the question of whether traffic-mitigation efforts could be used to regulate crime surfaced.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm

This Willows “traffic” study is only the most recent of several, bought and paid for by us Menlo Parkers over the years.

There are lots of opinions about crime, and as a traffic study, there is a lot of deception driving this particular study. Sean Howell in The Almanac has it right. The anxiety that drives this study, ostensibly about unsafe driving is, in turn, driven by “politically incorrect” assumptions that crime arrives by car from East Palo Alto, read Afro-American.

If that is the case, then this is not actually a traffic study, but a criminological study clothed in sheep’s disguise. And in that case, it ought to be sponsored by our police department, not by our transportation department, which has no jurisdiction over criminals, walking or driving.

Of course, our city administration has never seen a study it didn’t like. One might believe that they are in the study business, like an R&D job-shop. So, after we spend over $100K on this study and then put it on the shelf next to all the others (since we haven’t any funding for any of the recommended fixes), we can look forward to the next Willows study several years from now. It will be like Rocky IV, and about as entertaining. There is a saying about bureaucracies, “Whenever a finger is pointed at a problem, they study the finger.”

We now have a fully staffed police department. With crime statistics soaring, time for them to do the job they are being paid for, while we look for more studies to do.

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