Saturday, March 25, 2006

Being the victim of a crime is now a crime?

From this article in the QCTimes:

"Car owners may want to carefully check out the person driving their vehicle because of a new ordinance proposed for Scott County... ...Vehicle owners, including those who lease cars or trucks, will be liable for a simple misdemeanor for fleeing a peace officer after being ordered to stop. Fines will be assessed at $250 for the first offense and $500 for any subsequent ones.Authorities will photograph the license plate with video cameras mounted in patrol cars and then track down the owners, Conard said. If the vehicle is rented or leased, the person’s whose name is on the agreement is liable for it. “This will discourage officers from chasing the cars, but it also makes the car owner liable for civil penalties,” the sheriff said. "

Maybe the article isn't explaining it properly, but it sounds like if someone steals your car and runs from the cops, you'll be charged with a misdemeanor. The problem that I believe is causing this new law is that criminals know about Davenport and other cities' rules on police chases. If its not a forcible felony, DPD won't chase you. So if you're about to get pulled over, just floor it and evade the police, who are required to stop and turn off their engine. Then call the police and report your car stolen. You can even say you loaned it to some unknown or made up people, and then you don't know what happened to it. This proposed ordinance would charge the vehicle owners for basically allowing their cars to be used in eluding the police. Maybe there's some exception for people whose cars have ACTUALLY been stolen, but I don't see how there could be. You'd essentially need a seperate trial to decide whether someone was just claiming they didn't have possession of the car when it was running from the police, or someone whose car was actually stolen from them and then used to elude the police. Maybe some people with more knowledge of county politics and ordiances can fill me in.

I would suggest a better solution would be to return discretion over whether to pursue or not back to the officer.


WindingHills said...

The cops gain more and more power preventing Davenport from growing to it's potential.

In order for Davenport to grow, we have to retain the young and draw in more young as well. This is what happens in large cities. Now most young professionals are leaving for larger cities w/ jobs after college.

The reason they are leaving is b/c there is not much for young people to do in davenport(go out to bars) b/c cops are always waiting outside the bars to pull anyone over. This is not the way to attract young workers, which equals financial and demographic growth.

New roads, and more lenient cops will create rapid growth. In my opinion.

QuadCityImages said...

Eh.... as one of the young recent college grads that we need to stay here, I have to partly disagree. Young people ARE leaving because there isn't enough nightlife, etc, but I don't think the cops are causing many 20-somethings to move away. Cops in college towns are much, much worse.

The cameras are probably bugging people more, but I still don't know how many people are packing up and moving because they're being forced to drive less than 10 over the speed limit. I have yet to get a camera ticket, to my somewhat surprise.

F.B. Jones said...

I live 2 blocks away from the second largest coolege in TN I also work there. The cops around here are easy going on the college kids. I was born in davenport. This the first time I have seen bloggers from my old stomping ground.

Anonymous said...

This is so completely ridiculous. Winding Hills, the problem isn't the police are present too often, it's the amazing laziness! Instead of following a criminal who runs they want to be able to just let them go. So the next time I'm carrying 80 kilos of crack and a cop pulls me over I'll just run. Because a) my car is probably stolen so they'll never know who I am or b) the fine for running wouldn't be anywhere near what I would get if I were caught with 80 kilos.

How many times do we have to read about huge drug busts because someone was speeding on 80 before we realize how stupid this is! Davenport's non-chase policy hasn't made anyone safer. It's made people more likely to run from the police because they know the won't be chased.

QuadCityImages said...

Its not laziness, its politically-correct-ness. To be fair, there ARE situations where pursuits are inappropriate. Someone wanted for bad check-writing running from the cops at Locust and Brady around the time school gets out would be a good example. Kids everywhere, lots of traffic, etc, and it wouldn't be worth killing someone to catch a non-violent criminal. However, I think each situation should be up to the officer to decide, instead of just a blanket rule.

Anonymous said...

I agree that each situation should be up to the officer. And I believe the laziness is on the part of the administrator's who don't want to deal with the paperwork in the event of an accident, not of the officer. What is really unfortunate is when the criminals know they will not be pursued and an officer attempts to pull them over near a school when the kids are getting out. Guess what? The criminal will run! Not always, but enough to make the rule of no police chases sound very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

We pay the police to keep us safe. That means to catch the bad guys. If they are mandated to not chase criminals, then the bad guys win. Flat out, if Davenport is going to be a better place, then we have to clean up the crime. Run down those drug dealing, car stealing, driveby shotting little ratbastards and put them away forever!