• 36°

Solution to cruising simple: enforcement

Saying that cruising is a problem in downtown Ironton is a bit like saying guns cause crime. Both are vast generalizations and neither is exactly true.

Do a great number of crimes involve guns? Sure. Do millions of gun owners live, work and play without ever committing a crime? Absolutely.

Do bad things happen in downtown Ironton when young people cruise the streets? Sure do. Are the vast majority of young people who cruise the streets troublemakers? Hardly.

Cruising, on the surface, isn’t a problem. Why should we care if young people want to ride up and down the streets on a Friday or Saturday night? Obviously, there are far more dangerous and troubling things they could be doing.

But then again, it’s not the wear on city streets that remain at the center of the debate: it is all of the supplemental crimes that occur each weekend.

Loud noise, loitering, littering and public urination are all problems downtown residents and business owners have complained about in the past.

Yet, each of these behaviors is a crime.

So the real problem with cruising isn’t cruising, it’s enforcing the laws. Years ago, the city technically outlawed cruising but has never consistently enforced the issue – which gets us back to the where the issue’s rubber meets the road, as it were.

Enforcement of the law is the key. Ironton police officials say they simply don’t have the manpower to handle it. We think the matter is of critical importance. The police need to have a constant presence downtown on the weekends.

In the past, when they’ve devoted even a little time to keeping watch and enforcing the law, the problems have become much better, according to the downtown residents and business owners.

At some point, we’ve got to stop worrying about the disease of cruising and start treating the causes of the real problems with cruising. It’s not about the tires on pavement; it’s about lack of enforcement.