The above video of an undercover crosswalk sting in Somerville has garnered quite a bit of attention (and over 150,000 views) since it was posted to YouTube last Thursday.
In the video, an undercover officer repeatedly crosses the street using the crosswalk. When a driver doesn’t stop, a Somerville Police cruiser is waiting to issue a ticket.
The video, “Cop Fishing: Revenue Collection Trap,” was posted by user savyfide, who seems to post videos of what he or she believes are police officers in the wrong. It’s since been picked up by a number of media outlets, including TheFreeThoughtProject.com, BostInno and even Britain’s The Daily Mail.
A number of online commenters, including TheFreeThoughtProject.com, have criticized the department. TheFreeThoughtProject.com’s lede: “A video uploaded to [Facebook] Monday (June 30) shows what low levels police will sink to in order to generate revenue.”
On Monday, July 7, the Somerville Police Department responded to critics of the operation in a Facebook post.
Read the Somerville Police Department’s rebuttal below and let us know what you think of the undercover operation in the comments.
The department’s rebuttal:
The City of Somerville takes safety very seriously and pedestrian safety is no exception. Somerville experiences on average 47 pedestrian accidents per year, and a pedestrian was killed just last month in a crosswalk in Davis Square. As the cars speeding by the pedestrian in this video show, increased enforcement is clearly needed for crosswalks. Just as we enforce stop signs, speeding and red lights, we must enforce crosswalk regulations as well to ensure resident safety, especially the safety of children and seniors. This intersection has seen a number of pedestrian and cyclist accidents over the years and was recently identified as one of the top intersections of concern in the city. At intersections such as this where drivers clearly are not stopping as required, we prefer to have an officer out there rather than wait for an unsuspecting resident to risk getting hit.
The Somerville Police Department worked with state and federal transportation and public safety agencies to target this area specifically to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
Additionally, the city restriped or added more than 2,000 crosswalks citywide, added or repaired more than 1,800 damaged or faded traffic signs, and installed about 300 reflective signs for added visibility on pedestrian and stop signs. We're trying to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians in crosswalks and know when to stop. But when they fail to do so, it is our duty to enforce the laws that keep our residents safe.