When the holiday season begins, you can always count on noticing a few things: fake cotton snow on window sills, nativity scenes on street corners and, of course, a few more police cars on your commute.
It’s no secret that the holidays are a big time for police, with increased incidents of drunk driving and other infractions. What you may not know is that this is a result of a nationally-endorsed strategy called High Visibility Enforcement (HVE). The goal is to deter crime by making sure everyone knows that the police are out in force and you are more familiar with it than you think.
How does it work?
High visibility is all about getting even the most casual observer to realize that there is a strong police presence on any given day. You can see HVE working all over Texas with such strategies as:
- Flashing signs: Holiday puns and reminders all along your morning commute that warn you about traffic patterns and remind you to not drink and drive.
- Specially marked police: Often police may actually wear vests that tell you that they are part of the “DWI Task Force” or some other similarly named special squad.
- Articles: You may have noticed an uptick of articles in the news about the enforcement strategies that the Texas Highway Patrol is using this year.
- Advertising: Ads on tv or on the internet are another way you learn that, yes, the police are out watching for drunk drivers this holiday season.
The theory is this: if people know they are being watched, they will not break the law. It is safe to say, that you should take notice when law enforcement is telling you that they are on high alert.
The problems you can see
Sometimes high-visibility turns into background noise, and that can be a problem for you. If you’ve had one too many at your office holiday party, don’t ignore all the signs you’ve seen, get a safe ride home and avoid becoming the reason for next year’s holiday HVE campaign.