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Do People Call The Police More---good Or Bad?

Discussion in 'IMO: In My Opinion' started by Willowy, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Willowy

    Willowy Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    I thought this would make a good discussion.

    Recently my dad was driving home from work and saw my nephew and his friend (a girl) walking home from school. He pulled over and they ran to his van, and he asked if they wanted a ride. They said no, because it was a nice day and they were nearly home, so they went their way and he went his. A little while later the cops showed up at my parents' house and said that someone had reported a creepy dude trying to kidnap children and had given his license plate number. The cops said they knew it was dumb but they have to check out every report just in case. Who knows what would have happened if the kids had jumped in :/. Probably a SWAT team or something.

    This seems to be a common thing, as almost every day there's someone getting hysterical on Facebook about somebody looking suspicious near a school or trying to kidnap their kids or whatever.

    I can see it both ways. It's bad because my dad is paranoid anyway, and now he probably won't even talk to his own grandkids in public. But on the other hand, it's good that people are looking out for kids. And it's VERY good that they called the cops instead of "handling it themselves" by shooting him or engaging in mob violence.

    I've also noticed in the sheriff's report that there are a LOT of rural residents that are reporting "a suspicious car driving by" or their neighbor taking a walk or "I saw a dog" or other silly thing. It used to be a stereotype that rural residents wouldn't call the sheriff even if you held a gun to their heads, because they wanted to handle it themselves (usually involving violence). Plus it used to be that the sheriff wouldn't send a deputy if he thought it sounded dumb, but now they're required to respond to every call even if they think it's ridiculous. So I don't know if they used to get these kind of calls and just ignored them, or if frivolous calls are actually increasing.

    Do you think people are more likely to call the cops now than in times past? If so, any idea why? Do you think it's good or bad?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  2. 1CatOverTheLine

    1CatOverTheLine TCS Member Top Cat

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  3. Willowy

    Willowy Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    LOL. Except that I assume you think young people and/or liberals are snowflakes (or at least that's what people around here would say. They'd probably punch you for calling them snowflakes), but rural residents are mostly very very conservative Boomers (young people can't afford that). Trump got 66% of the vote in this county.

    Also, like I said, at some points in the past they would beat up or kill anyone they thought was being creepy, so I think it's better to call the cops than to do that. I suppose in that context you could argue that calling the cops rather than "handling it" is the snowflake option. But better to have the cops show up at your door because you talked to your grandson than a lynch mob.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018

  4. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    People everywhere are less naive then they used to be. Forty years ago if people had seen someone pull over to talk to some kids they would assume it was what it actually was in this case. People now don't just assume that it is something benign they think it could be a pervert looking to grab kids. They don't know for sure what is going on so they pick up the phone and call the cops to check it out. To be honest I probably would get a plate number and make that call as well. I am too much of a coward to go out and check it out myself but I will make that call.
     

  5. Azazel

    Azazel TCS Member Super Cat

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    I would presume that most people who call the police unnecessarily are those living in rural areas and who come from a majority group who has a "trusting" relationship with the police. People who live in urban areas are used to seeing strange things all the time and most minorities don't have a relationship with the police where they feel like they can call on them for every little thing.

    If we really want to get into a debate about whether conservatives or liberals call the police unnecessarily more often - my guess would be conservatives.
     

  6. 1CatOverTheLine

    1CatOverTheLine TCS Member Top Cat

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    @Azazel - I'd say that's absolutely true. Our local County Sheriff has more than once remarked that - as a general rule - citizens either see the police as their friends or as their enemies, there being precious little middle ground. Conservatives are certainly more likely to have developed a rapport with their local constabulary by virtue of the fact that - by their very linguistic definition - they have something they wish to conserve.
    .
     
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  7. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    There is so much that enters into rather people see police as friends or enemies. I am 62 and I have always seen police as friends. I was raised to see them that way along with deserving of respect. I was raised to believe that they were there to help people. I still wasn't happy when I got a speeding ticket but each time I have been pulled over I was speeding. I have been fortunate the last few years I have just gotten a verbal warning. I think that is because I live in the town where I was pulled over and I think, unless it was something really bad, they just give a verbal to residents.
     

  8. Azazel

    Azazel TCS Member Super Cat

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    While I would say that many liberals probably don't see police as 'friends' by choice (most of these are probably younger middle/upper class white liberals who have decided not to trust the police based on what they see in the media), there are also many liberals, mainly minorities, who don't have a trusting relationship with the police not necessarily because they don't want to, but because of a long history of tension and violence between their ethnic/cultural group and the police. It is a reality for many people in this country that they might call the police for help and end up being the one who gets shot and/or goes to jail.
     

  9. Willowy

    Willowy Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Which is, usually, a very unpleasant authoritarian dynamic. Which I'm sure factors in somewhere in this situation. But fortunately for my dad, he is on the upper end of that authoritarian dynamic so he doesn't really have to worry.

    I would think twice before calling the sheriff if it meant they would come to my house. There have been local situations in which the cop shot the caller's dogs and/or the caller or their family members because they "looked threatening". But normally if you just call to make a report of "creepy guy in a van over here" they just take your name and don't come talk to you personally. I have called to report a dead deer in the road or a loose cow and that's what they did.
     

  10. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I also grew up in the days before the militarization of the police. There were still beat cops who always worked in the same neighborhood for years and actually became almost like a neighborhood watch along with being cops. They knew the people in the neighborhood. They knew the people that would get loud and obnoxious when they had too much to drink but wouldn't hurt anyone. It's not like that anymore.
     

  11. 1CatOverTheLine

    1CatOverTheLine TCS Member Top Cat

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    These two things are mutually exclusive. When you're, "on the upper end of that authoritarian dynamic," the "cops" don't show up at your house. The Sheriff or Police Commissioner rings you discreetly after dinner, and says something like, "good evening, Bob; one of my Deputies / Officers / Troopers saw you talking to some kids at the roadside this afternoon; they weren't giving you any trouble, were they?"
    .
     
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  12. Azazel

    Azazel TCS Member Super Cat

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    In the neighborhood I grew up in we had a "neighborhood watch." Their job was to watch for both criminals and cops.
     
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  13. micknsnicks2mom

    micknsnicks2mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    ...with the cats...
    i've only called the police once in my (quite a few) years living here. and that one time that i did call them, there was a real reason. i have very much respect and confidence in law enforcement in general, and i also see no need to call them unless there's actually something to call them about. law enforcement is there to protect and serve, all of us, which i see as they've got plenty enough to do already.

    in my little rural community, most of us watch out for each other, and the children. police do drive through on their patrols, which cover a pretty wide area.

    it's possible that my opinion is shaped in part by a neighbor, who calls the local police for every imagined thing. that neighbor keeps the local police hopping, with pretty regular trips out here, and nothing ever comes of those trips -- never any arrests, they just come out, look around and take a report, then leave. as @Willowy said, police are required to respond to every call.
     
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  14. NY cat man

    NY cat man TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    For the most part, conservatives- true conservatives, that is, just want to live their lives , not bothering anyone, and free of some government flunky telling them what light bulbs to use, or which bathroom to use.I know several of the local police, my next-door neighbor is a retired State Trooper, and I have business cards from most of the area DEC police. I am anything but authoritarian; mostly I just want to be left alone, but I will call the police IF necessary, but not for minor BS.
     

  15. Willowy

    Willowy Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Is that allowed nowadays? Wow. That's how my grandfather was treated and he deserved to go to jail. I thought they ended that kind of blatant favoritism.

    OK, not the very top, apparently. Still on the upper end. They were just about licking his boots, being apologetic.
    Isn't that libertarians? The (self-described) conservatives I know VERY MUCH want the government to tell people which bathroom to use, and will call the police if they see a woman they deem insufficiently feminine near the ladies' room.

    Anyhoo, on the original subject, a couple weeks ago someone called the sheriff because a crop duster was "flying too low" o_O. I feel sorry for the poor deputies!
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018

  16. donutte

    donutte Professional cat sitter extraordinaire! Top Cat

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    My neighbor across the street calls the cops for every little thing. At least once a week, usually more though, we see the cops come by for whatever the issue du jour that she has. The other day she got mad at them and was still yelling at them as they drove off. They are there often enough that they pretty much ignore her rants, but they do come by.

    I guess I'd rather cops follow through on something though than blow it off. I had the cops called on me one time because a friend (whose car I was in at the time) parked in my neighbor's driveway. There was no room in mine and I said my neighbor wouldn't mind. Well, she didn't recognize the car and called 911. The operator didn't help AT ALL and said "it might be a drug deal going on". Anyway, four cop cars showed up and well, that was a fun evening. She yelled "I'm sorry, I didn't know it was you!" It was annoying but what if it had been something?

    I'll admit, I'm more apt to ignore stuff, probably because of where I grew up. We were taught to mind our business and not make waves. Obviously if I saw a break-in happening I'd report it, or if I just THOUGHT it was happening. Especially after this past March, when a client's home was broken into during the night when I was taking care of her kitty. I KNOW those neighbors were nosy as heck and always noticing every little thing, but no one ever called the cops that night.
     

  17. foxden

    foxden TCS Member Super Cat

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    Several years ago, there was a string of break-ins in our neighborhood. The following week, we noticed a car parked in front of our house, and the occupant was using binoculars and looking down the street across from our house.
    We called this in for two reasons: the driver had binoculars AND no resident in the area would ever park on the dangerous curb in front of our house. That car clearly did not belong to anyone living nearby.

    When we found out this was a police surveillance, we invited the police to park in our driveway so an unknown car would not be as obvious.
     

  18. NY cat man

    NY cat man TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Actually, I'm more of a conservatarian, that is, what you do on your own property, within your own walls, is no concern of mine- provided no harm is caused to anyone else, especially a minor. What a person does in public, however, is a different subject, and when the possibility of harming some innocent person exists- say drugged or drunk driving- then it is the duty of the average citizen to report it.
     
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  19. tinydestroyer

    tinydestroyer TCS Member Super Cat

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    I'm torn on the subject. I wish I could trust the police, but I don't really. I find that people who don't break the law generally don't have anything to fear from the police. However, people who do break the law, any law, cannot always expect to be treated fairly. I've seen corruption and mistreatment by police officers who abused their power at the expense of someone they were arresting - usually in a case where the person deserved to be arrested. Still, the police is not judge and jury, and shouldn't act as such or take advantage of these types of situations. All cops are individuals, and their behavior in stressful situations can be surprising. I've been on both sides of the law, and I have seen good cops and bad ones. Sometimes good cops when I did something wrong, and sometimes bad ones when I was the one calling. Sometimes, and ususally, the other way around.

    Although I don't trust the cops to show up in time if my life were in danger, or if someone were breaking into my neighbor's house, I would still call them before I did anything else.

    My boss calls the police for every little thing that happens outside her store. The downtown area has gotten way worse where the store is located, and when homeless people loiter, or rant at passers-by, or smoke outside the door (a misdemeanor,) she will call the cops to "hold her ground." I understand the point she makes, but I also understand that (aside from the smoking, which is illegal on that street by city ordinance,) they are generally not doing anything actually illegal.
     
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  20. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I don't call the police for everything, in fact I have never felt the need to call the police. I might in this situation though. If I saw a van that I didn't recognize and the person talking to kids I very well might take a plate number and make that call.
     

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