Blue Lines Painted on Curbs Signal “Back Up” for Cops-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A blue line painted on a curb outside a home signals to police officers that the homeowner supports the police and is willing to provide “back up” if need be.
Painting a blue line on curbs outside police-friendly homes is part of the “Safe Harbor Initiative” that was launched on Facebook.
But a blue line on a curb doesn’t necessarily signal “safe harbor” for cops, and there are ordinances against painting on curbs in many communities across the country.
A Texas man named Anthony Welichko launched the Safe Harbor Initiative on Facebook on September 9, 2015:
To all law enforcement who see this (blue) line, know that the residents of this home appreciate your service and dedication to keeping the peace. Know that when you enter the neighborhood and see these lines that you are not alone or without “back-up”. We do not need the media to make our voices of support for our police and emergency services heard ( though it would be nice). Lastly, if you are in my neighborhood and mean to harm a member of law enforcement, know that decision may be hazardous to you health as someone has that officers back!
Welichko told KENS5 News in San Antonio that he launched the Safe Harbor Initiative because of high-profile police-involved shootings across the country:
“The war against police, if you will, gets a lot of attention. I get the sense that the officers themselves aren’t seeing that support,” said Welichko.
He said the blue line is also a reminder for citizens to remember the risks law enforcement face on the job for us.
“Every single day they’re here protecting us. Our families. Our children. They absolutely deserve that respect, and they need to know we appreciate that,” said Welichko.
Welichko’s Safe Harbor Initiative (not to be confused with the nonprofit group with the same name that fights human trafficking) is a well-purposed attempt to curb violence against police officers. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial reports that fatal ambushes have been the leading causes of firearms-related police deaths in recent years.
However, there are two big problems with the idea: painting on curbs is illegal in many places, and blue lines are painted on curbs for many different reasons by city workers.
Curbs are public property, so there are often ordinances that prohibit citizens from making markings on them. In South Bend, Indiana, for example, it’s illegal for non-city officials to paint or mark curbs in any way. Anyone who makes unauthorized curb or street paintings in New York City, meanwhile, has 30 days to cover it up before a court summons for “street defacement” is issued. These are just two examples; there are countless more across the country.
Another problem is that city crews paint blue lines on curbs for many different reasons. Public works departments frequently paint blue lines on curbs, streets and sidewalks to identify water lines that are being worked on, for example. And an Illinois community even began painting blue lines on curbs outside of homes that had overdue water bills to “shame” the homeowners into paying their bills back in 2013, local station WIFR reports.
So, the Safe Harbor Initiative has gained traction on Facebook, but it needs to overcome a number of challenges before it takes off across the country.