Cops sitting in cars in empty parking lots?

I live in an upper middle class suburb with very little crime . Maybe 1 murder a year and the vast majority of “crime” is speeding tickets.

I live right near a church and their parking lot is empty except on Sunday and sometimes Wed. I often see cops sitting in their cars in that empty church lot. Lately the cops have been there almost every day. They don’t stay for just a few minutes , they stay for 30 minutes. What are they doing sitting there instead of patroling? Pretty sure they all have laptops now with internet access so that makes me wonder what they might be checking out.

With our County Cops, they loiter somewhere just to do the needed paper work that comes with every job.

Even if they didn’t have laptops with internet access, they still have [personal] smart phones with internet access.

I’d guess they have something to do that they can’t do while driving. Calling/texting someone, writing a report, updating something etc.

Regardless of what they’re doing, they’re probably trying to maintain a presence in the area while they’re doing it. I know in my parking lot cops will often show up and sit near the edge of the lot, near the street. They look like a speed trap, but they’re clocking anyone and I don’t mind, the more they’re there, the less likely my place is to get robbed.

I really don’t think the police should be using private property to set up speed traps. They can pull onto the shoulder of a road to do that or come up from behind traffic. There is no need for that in my estimation.

Why not? It seems like a better idea for them to be off the road instead of in traffic. Furthermore, they’re more visible when you approaching them if you see the side of their vehicle instead of the back of it. They might hand out less tickets, but it also means people are driving slower.
And, as I mentioned in my other post, I don’t mind it at all when they’re on my property. It keeps the place safer and I have a good repport with most of them.

However, if I asked them not to do that, I assume they’d stop.

People do tend to drive more carefully when they see a cop car.

Back a few years ago, they were doing work on a main road in my home town. In order to do the work, they had to put up a stop sign. It wasn’t a place where you’d expect one – it was on a clear stretch of road. It was likely people would just drive through it, almost without realizing it was there.

The cops parked a police car just before the stop sign. No one in it, but everyone saw it and stopped at the sign.

So just seeing a car can help prevent illegal behavior.

the parking lot section they park in is not close to a road , so it’s not a speed trap. I can’t imagine they have much paperwork other than the tickets which they fill out when they catch you.

They’re doing a lot more than just catching people speeding. If I call the police because there’s a car in my parking lot that’s making me nervous and it’s gone by the time they get here…they have to write a report. If you hear a noise in your backyard and call them and it turns out to be a raccoon in your garbage cans, they have to write a report. Virtually every interaction they have with civilians as part of investigating something or responding to a call gets a report (or documented in another report).
Check out your local PD’s website or facebook page and see how many things are in their police blotter every day.

Maybe they’re just taking a break. Or the church is central to their patrol area. Better to be centrally 15 minutes away than 30 minutes away if they’re at the extreme of their patrol area.

Also, any documentation they can do on the road, means that much less time they have to spend at the station once their active patrol ends. Last year I had an accident with a moped. The patrol cars came and one left after about 15 minutes, but the other officer stayed until I left the area, so he was there a good hour or so.

I must say I am not too impressed with police reports . I was in a car wreck about 10 years ago and the report had 6 major factual errors in it. The worst error was they put down that I drove a Honda Pilot when I was driving a 2 door Honda Civic. The report was a total pile of garbage. BTW I was not at fault in the accident .

I don’t know about the OP, but for me, this is the answer.

I live in a decidedly “blue collar” neighborhood and there are a few spots in the vicinity where there is almost always a patrol car or two, 24/7, just sitting. The bowling alley parking lot, in front of that bakery, over by the Parks & Planning Commission building. They’re not speed traps, they’re not really even paying attention to traffic. As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, they are there just to be there. They post up in a highly visible spot, and their only real agenda is just being seen.

But…that doesn’t mean it’s not what they’re doing.

In my city, about 10 years ago, the chief changed (made?) a policy saying that they can’t come back to the station just to go to the bathroom*. The idea was that if they have to stop in at restaurants and stores and other [open to the] public places it helps them be seen in public, the local employees get to know them better and they get to know all the places better and, on top of all that, it helps maintain a presence.
*using the bathroom while you’re there is fine, just not coming back for that reason.

Around here, some 24-hour stores have a big sign in the window that reads, “Police Substation.” That means the manager lets the cops use his office to catch up on paperwork, make phone calls, stretch out when they’re on their breaks, etc. The fact that a big sign in the front window may deter a potential robber and costs literally nothing is strictly a coincidence.

Maybe the OP’s town doesn’t have such an arrangement, or maybe the parking lot is home to a liquor store or pharmacy that needs a little extra deterrence, or maybe it’s a bowling alley where there’s so much trouble some nights it’s just easier to have a cop parked there all night and let everyone else do the patrolling.

True story. In the sleepy little suburb where I grew up, no one understood why there was a cop parked in front of one house every night, 365 days a year. No one understood until they learned that was the home of a local mob boss, and the police just wanted my little suburb not to have to go to the mattresses.

+1 to those who posted being seen and presence

If they park in an inconspicuous spot, they’re accused of setting up a speed trap, trying to entrap someone or trying to hide.

My first post says the parking lot is for a church. But I guess they could sell booze out the back door. :smiley:

All that has been said but also, maybe he’s eating? Or maybe he’s already put 50 miles on the car that day and had to take a break from driving around so he doesn’t drive into a tree?

When I write reports I like to tuck myself away as best I can so I’m not bothered by anyone and I can get my work done. We had a former captain that made an edict that whenever we wrote a report or stopped for any reason we had to be visible to the public so they can bother us while we are trying to get our work done. Maybe their captain is as dumb as our old captain.

Near where I live there is a McDonald’s right beside a busy roundabout. A couple of years ago I noticed that there was often an ambulance parked in their car park. I wasn’t the only one who noticed and there was soon a letter in the paper about NHS Ambulance crews skiving off.

They stopped parking there after that and now park in a nearby parking area, out of sight behind an office.

The reason they were there is because ambulances have response targets to maintain and by stationing a crew there, they were able to cover the area more speedily. McD’s also have facilities that they can use.

The cops park behind our house in the church parking lot for quite a while, radio blaring, engine running. They don’t park where they can be seen from the streets. Who knows what they’re doing. Paperwork, groupie BJs, whatever.

It’s Mesa, so I should be grateful they don’t shoot me.

…I mean if they are staying for exactly 30 minutes each time, then that sounds like a lunch break. Knock on the window and ask :slight_smile:

And, as my post suggests, maybe the minister is a mob boss. :smiley: