So my 2 youngest kids are 12 and 9. Both are white. We live in a predominantly non-white neighborhood in West Philly. Today they were walking through the park and they were stopped by two Philly cops who were concerned that they were in the park alone. The cop made them call me so he could talk to me and make sure I knew they were alone in the park. He asked me if it was normal for me to let them walk alone “in this neighborhood” with all the appropriate tone in that statement. I assured him it was fine, but he still insisted in cautioning me to “not let them do this in the future, because it may not be safe here for them.”
The cop didn’t know that I was watching the exchange from my front porch. I wasn’t close enough to hear anything, but I could see them and most of what was going on in the park. I could obviously see many kids in the park. And while I’m not sure how many were alone and how many were not, it seemed obvious that the kid/adult ratio meant that at least some of them were there alone. And I know for sure, because I watched, that the cops didn’t stop any of the other, non-white, kids in the park and ask to talk to their parents.