Monday, March 23, 2009

Positive Ticketing -- Coming to Lowell

At tonight's Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting, Police Chief Ken Lavallee laid out an idea that started in Richmond, British Columbia that will come to Lowell soon -- positive ticketing.

Here's how it works: Lots of young people flood the downtown area in the post-school day/pre-dinner hours. Their interactions with the police usually come in the form of "don'ts" and "shouldn'ts" that might me met with the threat of a ticket and resultant fine. However, positive ticketing aims to change that -- by offering police officers downtown with the chance to reward good behavior.

Using money from local donors and large organizations, police will be *armed* with gift certificates to local eating establishments and entertainment venues that they can give to teenagers who do the right thing -- those who actually wait for the appropriate lights to change before crossing the street, those who help to prevent minor quality-of-life problems (littering and vandalism), and those who generally exhibit good-citizen type of behavior in public.

Sounds like a pretty neat idea, and it's good to see an idea that succeeded somewhere else being adopted locally.

Also speaking at the meeting tonight were Suzzanne Cromwell, who promoted the 2nd Annual Film Festival (first weekend in April), which will focus on "Food, Fair Trade, and the Global Economy," and City Manager Bernie Lynch, who gave a detailed analysis of the city's budget for this and the next fiscal year.

6 comments:

Shannon said...

Positive ticketing sounds absolutely brilliant. A simple idea getting people to pay attention to the things that teenagers do correctly? Amazing. One thing all people need, and kids in particular, is positive attention!
Imagine, instead of kids being scared when police officers approach, they may actually feel proud or excited. That is thinking outside the box and I love it.

I own a pirate flag that says "The beatings will continue until moral improves"

I love and laugh at the irony, but some people lead with this mentality and probably don't even realize it...my boss for example lol.

The New Englander said...

Shannon,

Exactly -- sometimes it's all about changing the way people interface with police.. I know several years ago in Philadelphia there was a problem with robberies at ATMs, so someone had the wise idea of putting ATMs inside of police stations..it not only solved the robbery problem, but it greatly improved police-civilian relations at the same time..

best,
gp

Shannon said...

Yea, that was a good idea. I like how it takes something simple to fix complicated problems.
Police - civilian relations are important. In Tucson, crime is high and police officers have a bad reputation. A lot of kids here get into a lot of trouble. They feel so negatively towards cops and that attitude spreads.Even kids without their own bad stories adopt their friends feelings and experiences. But if cops were in the community on a more positive note, much more frequently, kids may have good stories to counter the bad ones. Considering the crime rate, maybe cops don't have a lot of time for it, but if they invested the time I think they would see some really great things happen especially with the next generation.

The New Englander said...

Shannon,

Good call..just as the negative feeling/opinion can spread quickly among kids, there's no reason positivity couldn't, either. Some kids might just scoff or laugh at an idea like "positive ticketing" but it seems like it's worth a shot...once it goes into effect, I'll write more..

best,
gp

Shannon said...

Greg,

Sweet, I look forward to hearing about it.

-Shannon

Ward said...

There is a book on how to implement the Positive Ticket program. It is featured on www.PositiveTickets.com