All of us have busy-body neighbors with the proverbial shrieks of "Get off my lawn!!!" spewing forth from their mouths. These are the grumpy know-it-alls leaning over the fence complaining about trouble in the hood who have high on their list of complaints "that kid in his hot rod tearing up the neighborhood." Sometimes they're right and other times they're imagining things since any motion over 5 mph in their little corner of the world translates into "they were driving like a bat out of hell." Well, the city of Columbia, Missouri is either going to empower them or shut them up.

Home to the University of Missouri and the canceled Travel Channel series Truck Stop USA, Columbia is an idyllic American midwest city. But it does have an awful lot of pesky youngsters from Mizzou, Stephens College, and Columbia College, no doubt street racing through its urban and suburban streets wreaking havoc and mayhem along the way. So, the brain trust at the city's Public Works Department is considering a program to loan out three radar guns to citizens who request them.

According the Columbia Tribune the department is considering requiring a $200 deposit from residents who want to rent out radar guns. The idea is this program could "help the city gather data about automobile traffic speeds in residential areas while potentially assuring residents that the automobiles passing by might not be traveling as fast as they had suspected", said Lee White, a traffic engineer with Public Works.

Will a program like this really help? Would three radar guns in the hands of untrained civilians provide meaningful data? Do the guns capture the data or will Grandma Betty have to take notes on her scientific findings when you whiz by in your Miata? Only time will tell.


Photo courtesy USAF TSgt Angelique Perez at Misawa AB, Japan