Policing problem of poverty doesn’t make it go away

Policing problem of poverty doesn’t make it go away

Letter to the Editor:

The recent curfew of the downtown area, and the subsequent letters to the WWN in support of it, are laying bare many of the attitudes regarding the poor in this city. While I’m understanding of what an annoyance loud people can be late at night, this is hardly an issue limited to the downtown square. Additionally, as someone who has lived in several cities over the years before settling here, I find it hard to believe someone would move into a condo/apartment in the downtown area of any city and be surprised by a bit of noise at night.

Unfortunately, the curfew is yet another symptom of this city’s long history of disdain toward those seen as unsightly. Do we forget the harassment those of “Tent City” endured despite being far enough away from our downtown residents? Do we forget the $150-$250 fine proposed in 2018 against those who by the very nature of being homeless would not have the funds to pay? Do we forget the beatings of two men outside of Trinity Church of Christ who did nothing other than exist?

The fact is, this city and many of its people would rather pretend there is no poverty problem. They would rather public spaces be reserved for those whom they deem as deserving and police those who do not until they disappear. Rather than snoop over the police scanner, watch from your window or assume the worst of those who are a lower income bracket than you, might I suggest some compassion and empathy. Policing the problem of poverty doesn’t make it go away.

George Read


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