Friday, September 4, 2009

Fight crime: invest in kids

Yesterday’s case, last month’s case, and a lifetime of experience like this has convinced me that helping children, new parents, and young families is our best chance of preventing outcomes like this. Quality child care, afterschool programs, early childhood education, parenting education, mentoring, visiting home nurses, are not a panacea. Nothing can take the place of a loving, caring parent or two to whom you are bonded like glue from birth. But they all help.

These supports are especially important to kids who have special challenges to overcome—poverty, for example; or no parents, bad parents, and parents who are dealing with their own demons.

I’m not alone in feeling this way. There are around 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors who believe in this strongly enough that they, too, have joined this non-partisan nonprofit organization, which seeks to add the voice of law enforcement experience to the call to help kids grow and prosper by investing in prevention. It was my pleasure to host their news conference here in Lincoln this week.


Unknown said...

Thanks for this one. Too often, we in the public don't want to support 'social' programs. But then we want to be 'tough on crime'. We want reduced taxes, but are then shocked to discover (as we did with the Safe Haven Law) that there is no safety net.

The Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is an organzation I hadn't heard of before. Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

How about revisiting child custody laws and revamping them to allow BOTH parents equal time to their children. Too many problem kids are coming from broken homes. Children need the love and guidance that comes from a mother and father. Current court practices deny equal time. It should be automatic and only changed when conditions apply that would put a child at risk. This would be a BIG first step.

Steve said...

I don't doubt that getting kids into pre-school and after-school programs goes a long way toward helping them find better things to do with their lives than engaging in criminal activities. I have to wonder though if the numbers are as dramatic as some of this information would have us believe. I'm always skeptical of study results presented by those with a vested interest in the outcome. The fact that police chiefs and others in law enforcement are promoting these programs in more convincing than the studies themselves. If they believe it works, there must be something to it.

Anonymous said...

Way too much reproduction going on . . .

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Off topic.

Question. Vehicle 2; does vehicle 2 have to signal? I never do in this case as this driver did. It appears to me the curb lane is a "new" lane, and there is a few in Lincoln like this one.. So that being said, it is not a lane change. The lane is just beginning. If you move into it right away I think the signal is not needed. If the driver of #2 waits and moves over after the new lane begins, then a signal is needed. Drivers training instructed this. Your take please?

Tom Casady said...


You are required to signal a lane change. There is no exception for a lane that is just beginning that I know of.

A motorist entering the street from a stop sign must yield the right of way to vehicles on the through street.

Never rely upon a turn signal (or the lack thereof) as an accurate indication of what another driver is about to do. He or she could have been signalling an eventual right turn for the past 10 miles. The car in the inside lane will inevitably change lanes without signalling at the very same moment you decide it is safe to turn into the curb lane at the intersection.

You are invisible. Assume that at the worst possible moment each vehicle will make the movement most likely to kill you. Always leave yourself an escape hatch.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answer. I will start using my signals when new lanes begin.
Jim J

Trevor said...

Intervening in the lives of children makes more sense and is a better use of community resources. Often with adults, it appears as if all may be a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

While we are talking traffic rules I have one for you.
Hwy 2 westbound from about 24th to 20th has an extra lane to turn right on to Northbound 20th street. Kessler Street runs parallel to Hwy2 just next to the bike path between Kessler and Hwy2.

There is NO YIELD sign on Kessler and the rules of the road would say Northbound 20th street should yield to the traffic on Kessler headed West. However Kessler is a T intersection at 20th and you either turn right or left.

My question is: Does the right turn rule apply even when the vehicle to your right has to turn left or go right? Next question is: Even if the right turn rule still applies it is a dangerous intersection and a YIELD sign on Kessler westbound would be appropriate. Any chance of getting one?

There is an idiot with a 26 foot Scarab powerboat that makes a left turn from Westbound Kessler on to Southbound 20th street and stops at the stop sign before entering Hwy#2, blocking right turning traffic onto 20th for minutes at a time. He never does the courteous thing and YIELD to traffic. He insists on turning and stopping. I have personally seen this happen several times.

My itty bitty motorcycle wouldn't even scratch that nice shiny Scarab but some big 4WD pickup in a hurry might total it. That is one I would pay to see.

Gun Nut

Tom Casady said...

Gun Nut-

It's still an intersection, and if two vehicles approach the intersection from different directions at approximately the same time, the vehicle on the left is required to yield to the vehicle on the right. So, a northbound vehicle on 20th Street yields to a westbound vehicle on Kessler.

That said, in everyday driving I think most people give the nod to the through street. That's not the law, though. Remember the defensive driving rule above: never rely on the other person.

The intersections of Kessler and 20th and Highway 2 and 20th are way to close together, but that's a mistake that probably happened around 1960. I'm guessing that Highway 2 was a two lane road at the time, so the spacing seemed adequate when the subdivision was platted.

I can see the boat-owner's predicament. I'm not sure I'd want to take that rig northbound up to Van Dorn to head to the lake, because of the tight parking on S. 20th all the way up to Burnham. I suppose the polite thing to do is to stay put on Kessler at 20th until you spot a long enough traffic break on westbound Highway 2 that you have a good chance of pulling out on to 20th, stopping, then proceeding onto the Highway. You'd be holding up anyone behind you on Kessler, but that would be far fewer people (I think) than the right turners on Highway 2. You certainly wouldn't want to risk someone bombing down Highway 2 rear-ending a stopped car in the turn pocket waiting for your rig that has 20th Street blocked.

Tom Casady said...

By the way, this is the place we are talking about.

Steve said...

Isn't there a law that says you cannot enter an intersection if traffic does not allow you to clear the intersection without stopping (or some such language). I think this is intended for people who barge right into the intersection when traffic is obviously backed up ahead and they will be stuck in the middle when the light turns green for crossing traffic. However, it might apply in the situation described here. If the guy with the boat can't clear the intersection, he shouldn't be pulling into it. This would be a tough, and unusal call though.

Anonymous said...


Are you aware of any Public Works plan to put a traffic management camera at about 14th & O, so you (and the rest of the world) can watch LPD's daily bar break trials and tribulations? I see they've recently put one at 10th & O, so the cabling is really close already.

p.s. Best of luck with game day and night, to all at LPD, UNLPD, and LSO (and NSP, while we're at it).

Anonymous said...

Chief, I am always amazed and pleased of your insight into the welfare of our citizens including children. Keep up the great commentary and hard work.