Got my first "speed trap" ticket yesterday--you know, where you've got a road with wide shoulders, few houses along it, and inexplicably the speed limit is 30mph--and had some thoughts about what a speed trap tells visitors, whether or not they get a ticket.
1. If you choose to run a business in our town, we will greet your vendors, customers, and employees with tickets unrelated to an actual safety hazard on the road.
2. Our City Council and police are filled with people who have no particular moral qualm about imposing harsh monetary and other penalties on people whose actions have posed no danger to anyone, let alone done anything immoral.
3. We are going to choose to ignore real crime issues--or budget issues--in order to staff our speed trap.
4. We will let you know how important our speed trap is to us by staffing its enforcement, but not other pressing issues with crime.
5. We value our ticket revenue so much that we are willing to actually create a safety hazard by creating an incentive for locals to slow down when every other part of the road says that a safe driving speed is 45mph. (this also goes for cities that reduce the yellow light time to increase tickets for running red lights....part of Colorado that I do not miss at all!)
It would be interesting to track the economic prospects of cities and towns with a lot of speed traps (and short yellow lights) versus those without. I'm guessing those without--those whose police forces actually do seem to care about dealing with crime instead of issuing tickets and harassing otherwise law-abiding motorists--also have a much better record of attracting employers.
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