It’s a Crime(Reporting) Wave

Last night there were helicopters flying over my house again after someone fired a weapon at a house in a nearby neighborhood. As always, when this was reported people jumped on the community association email list to talk about not being safe, the increase in crime and how the police need to do more to protect them.

There are a few problems with this. One being that the community association actually pays for extra patrols and the county police are always out and about on regular patrols. I’m not sure what else they expect them to short of paying to put a police officer or private security on every corner. If we did that, they would feel safe, but would be complaining about the increase in taxes. The police and community association are doing their jobs. If you need more start a neighborhood watch.

The other problem with this is that their insistence that crime rates are going up. This is not true. I don’t have 2013 numbers because I’m not getting paid to call who I need to call to get the updated numbers, but according to the numbers from the last few years, crime is down significantly(http://www.goccp.maryland.gov/msac/crime-statistics-county.php?id=18 ) So, why do people think crime is up?

The perception comes from the east access to crime reporting theses days. It used to be that you got whatever news the paper or local tv felt was relevant. Most of the smaller crimes were never in the news. Now with all of the Patch online news sites, Facebook pages like Anne Arundel Breaking News and Events and emails for the police you can know everything thing that comes across the police scanner. All of this “reporting” gives the illusion that crime is up. All that is up is your awareness of the crime. No neighborhood will feel safe if you are aware of every report that comes over the scanner. You don’t need more police, you need less information.

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Traffic Sucks, But So Do You

I am the first to admit that traffic in this area sucks. There are way too many cars for the roads we have and they just keep building. What makes it worse, though, is that the drivers suck just as much as the volume. I could probably write a book about bad Maryland driving, but I will stick to two local Odenton issues.

The first issue that arose recently in the Odenton area was the traffic circle on 175. It was a two lane circle built to ease the traffic at a busy intersection. Almost immediately the complaints began because people did not want to learn how to drive in a traffic circle. There were accidents because drivers did not pay attention to how the circle worked and tried to turn from the wrong lane. Instead of learning how to navigate the circle, the area residents cried and complained until the circle was taken to one lane and now traffic is back to being backed up at the intersection again.

Recently, the intersection of Rte 3 and Waugh Chapel Road got a new traffic pattern called a Michigan U. Again, this was done to ease congestion on rte 3. Before the pattern was even changed people started to complain.I admit that I was skeptical of the Michigan U and thought it would be really bad. I was wrong. Where I used to avoid turning left at that intersection to go north, I now use it exclusively. It is much faster than the old traffic pattern. Still, people are complaining that it is dangerous. Why is it dangerous? Because the drivers refuse to learn how to use it. They don’t read the signs that tell them what lane goes where. They don’t pay attention to what is going on around them. They turn and then try to swerve across multiple lanes to get to where they need to be. This is not a problem with the traffic pattern. This is a problem with the intelligence of the drivers. When i mentioned this on a discussion on this on Odenton Patch no one denied that the drivers are the problem. They still want the pattern changed. Why? I assume laziness and/or stupidity on the part of the people who refuse or can’t learn new things.

We could make the drive out there suck a little less by sucking a little less ourselves. Read the signs, pay attention and stop blaming the traffic pattern for your own stupidity.

Dumb Growth

Odenton, MD in Anne Arundel County continues to grow. Every day I see more trees being uprooted to make way for more houses and more people. Unfortunately, the infrastructure supporting the area is not growing at the same pace. We still have the same tiny post office that was here when I moved to the area in 1995. Most mornings when I go there is one person staffing the desk. My daughter has already been redistricted to another school to make room for all of the new kids moving into the area and her old school is still using several trailers to house the older students. Ft. Meade will soon receive thousands more workers meaning many more cars on the surrounding streets during rush hour. No road improvement or widening was done in preparation for this. I’m not sure if any preparation was done in the Meade school district to prepare for the extra kids. I’m not against growth. I do think, however, that we need to halt the building of new houses, shopping centers, etc until we have a chance to widen roads, build new schools or expand existing ones, expand the post office, etc. Whatever happened to the concept of smart growth?