Lose the Cruise
One of America’s oldest pastimes is coming under attack, and possibly for good reason. According to an article in today’s Post Dispatch, St. Louis is considering an ordinance that would curtail “cruising” in and around Fairground Park, especially during the weekends. City officials cite a spike in violence and congestion on Sundays as reasons why a new ordinance is needed:
Over the last two summers, Saturday has proved to be the most dangerous day of the week in the area. Every Saturday, an average of eight to nine violent crimes were reported. But this May, Sundays were the most violent day of the week there, with an average of about 11 violent crimes.
Normally, I would be against city ordinances restricting seemingly harmless activities such as cruising, but — assuming that there really are legitimate safety concerns — I have to side with the city. Granted, I’ve never before thought of cruising as a real threat to safety, so I am taking their word for it in this particular case. As much as it pains me to agree with limiting the activities of individuals, as soon as they infringe upon the safety of others, it is no longer their right to continue that specific activity.
Also, by congregating in large masses, these cruisers have made it almost impossible for other city dwellers to enjoy the benefits of Fairgrounds Park:
Antionette Bullay, who lives in the area, said the weekly caravan has grown so large and rowdy that all other activity comes to a standstill. It’s like a Mardi Gras every Sunday.
Considering that the park is public grounds owned by the city, everyone should have equal rights when it comes to utilizing this particular public good. These cruisers are infringing on the rights of others, therefore the city is acting within its realm of responsibility by limiting their ability to cruise. However, having never visited Fairgrounds Park or possessing any statistics on increased crime due to cruising, my position on this issue is based solely on the information contained within the Post-Dispatch article.