Boston City President Michael Flaherty has recently suggested hiring an additional 350 police officers, something Mayor Thomas Menino says the city cannot afford.
At any given moment there are probably hundreds of Boston police officers standing around watching as construction crews do road work. In other parts of the world, cones and flagmen are sufficient to direct traffic around work areas. Here in Boston, some local or state law must require the presence of the police whenever there’s construction on or near a road, even the lightly-traveled roads of a residential neighborhood. Usually the police stand around and chat with the construction workers, ready—to do what? Perhaps they’ll call for help if a careless driver ignores the signs and plows into a construction area, which is the same thing the construction workers would do.
So you want an inexpensive way to increase the number of beat cops? In low-traffic areas let construction crews take care of marking out their work zone; require them to have a cell phone with them, and they’ll be just as safe as they are now.