When five-year-old Presley Keeton made the decision to write a note to her local police department, she had no idea what would happen next. However, when the police saw the note, they knew that they had to act fast.
Now the focus of this note is a road that at a first glance doesn’t seem particularly special. Bassett Road in Westlake, Ohio, is the setting of this unusual note, and it also happens to be the home of its author, Presley.
Although this road may seem much like any other ordinary residential street, according to one little girl, this road was suffering from a serious problem. So this girl decided that she would try and do something about it.
Unfortunately, Bassett Road’s issue is extremely dangerous, and it is something that many roads suffer from across America. So what exactly was the issue that troubled Presley? This street had a problem with speeding vehicles.
Even though this road is situated in a residential neighborhood, the issue of speeding vehicles was so bad that it was noticed by one of the road’s youngest residents. Five-year-old Presley had become aware of the problem and was unhappy.
Considering the style of this particular crime, you would think that it would be very unlikely for a five-year-old to pick up on the problem. Typically, a girl this age would not be interested in the traffic on her road, which goes to show how big a problem this must have been.
Consequently, we could ask why Presley was so worried about the speeding vehicles. Like many other young children, she enjoyed playing outside her house but, unfortunately, the crime that these drivers were committing made Presley feel unsafe in her own neighborhood.
Even though Bassett Road had a clearly signed speed limit of 25 miles per hour, Presley believed that vehicles regularly exceeded this limit. Indeed, she believed that one had even hit the high 80s as it whizzed along her street. Therefore, it is no surprise that this little girl decided to take action.
Presley thought that the best thing to do to stop the problem was to write a letter to the Westlake Police Department. And in a report by Fox 8 Cleveland, she very sweetly explains why. She said, “Because they stop people from speeding.”
With that in mind, what did her parents think? Zach, her dad, explained to Fox 8 Cleveland that he very much approved. Indeed, he said, “When she decided to do it, I thought there was no better person to get their attention then a five-year-old. If a five-year-old notices that it’s a problem, then it’s probably a pretty big issue.”
Presley’s letter highlighted the speeding problem that her neighborhood faced. Indeed, describing it to a reporter, she said, “It was a picture of the road and every car was going above the speed limit. One car was going 89.”
Amazingly, Presley’s letter was a success, and she managed to get the attention of the police officers. The five-year-old had only been expecting a letter in reply to her complaint; however, something far more unexpected happened.
One officer, Tony LaVopa, decided to visit Bassett Road and showed Presley the method officers use to identify and catch speed violators. Pictures included in Fox 8 Cleveland’s report show Presley was fascinated by the LaVopa’s work.
The big question is, though, was Presley right about speed violators on her road? Well, it turns out that she very much was. In as little time as one hour, LaVopa stopped seven or eight drivers that he suspected of speed violations, according to Presley.
Even though in this case Presley was right about the crime she could see taking place on her road, this does seem a very unusual circumstance. So how often does this sort of thing happen, and why did the police take a little girl’s complaint seriously?
One Westlake police officer answered these questions. He said, “It is extremely infrequent for a five-year-old to communicate with us, and we thought this would be a good opportunity to maybe make a friend and also address the complaint that she made.”
Luckily, this five-year-old girl had the support of her parents when she made this complaint. They too had noticed the problem, and her dad, in particular, thought the police would be more likely to pay attention if the complaint came from a five-year-old.
Her dad also told Fox 8 Cleveland that if you believed in something, regardless of age, you could cause real change. He said, “I think Presley is a wonderful example of showing that it doesn’t matter how old you are, that you can make a difference.”
After writing her letter and the subsequent encounter with the Westlake Police Department, Presley told Fox 8 Cleveland that her road did feel safer. However, she observed that this is an ongoing problem, and she said, “There’s still more speeders to catch.”
Five years old might seem young for an activist, but Presley showed that anyone can make a difference. And, consequently, now presumably she feels a lot happier about playing out on Bassett Road.