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Can someone explain 'City Orientation' and 'Hundred Blocks' to me?

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  • Can someone explain 'City Orientation' and 'Hundred Blocks' to me?

    I start field training (patrol) in two weeks. I have never lived or spent any time in the city I will be patrolling in prior to being hired so I am trying my best at city orientation by studying maps, "driving" on google street view and driving in person on my off-time.

    Do you guys have any advice or tips on how to get familiar with a certain area? How to get better at City Orientation?

    Also, can you explain Hundred blocks? I can't seem to make sense of them.

    For example from driving around it looks like Main Street is the 3100 block. Main street runs east to west. Main street goes on for about 6 miles. But the entire Main street is the 3100 block. How can that be? If I am all the way on the east side of main street or miles west on Main street how can I still be on the 3100 block of Main street? Am I understanding this wrong?

    Is there an easy way to try to get hundred blocks down?

  • #2
    Each city is different. You need to relax and let your training begin. You are just screwing yourself up right now.

    Yes. I could tell you. No. I'm not going to. That's what your FTO is for. I'm sure someone on here will answer you, thus taking away your goal to LEARN.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      The only way to truly learn your area when you are in FTO (besides driving around when you are on duty) is to study a map on your time off. Yes, on your time off.
      Anything worth shooting is worth shooting 3 or 4 times.

      M-11

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      • #4
        I can explain how hundred blocks work, and don’t work, in my town. It’s an addressing system. At some point in the dim past someone designated the center of an intersection as the center of town. The street grid runs roughly east-west and north-south. Buildings in the first block north of the center point, on the north-south street have three digit numbers beginning with “1” and the directional “North”. Even numbers on the east side, odd numbers on the west. The first building facing west would be “100 North Northsouth Street.” Move one block north and buildings get three digit numbers beginning with “2” and so on. Repeat for the other three cardinal directions.
        The system works great so long as your city map looks like graph paper. When your beat includes hills, valleys, waterways, irregularly-shaped properties, city lines, and annexations, things get complicated. Block numbers develop gaps and you have appendix-like streets designated Court, Place, or Way.

        Like with irregular verbs, there’s no substitute for rote memorization.

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        • #5
          Also, take a look at your city map. Some (but not all) city planners dumb it down by having numbered streets go in one direction (like North/ South) and named streets go crosswise (like East/West). They might (but not always) make it easier by putting the named streets in alphabetical order (like Anza, Balboa, Cabrillo, etc.)

          Assuming streets are laid out in an even grid in each direction, there will usually be starting line on the east or west side of town. the first block on each street from that starting line will be the 100 block and all address in the block will be 100 through 199, odd on one side, even on the other. The second block from that starting line will be the 200 block and all address in the block will be 200 through 299, odd on one side and even on the other. That way you can be on (for example) the 2300 block of any east/west street in town and know that any adjacent east/west block is also the 2300 block.

          Similar rules apply for cross streets. A starting.line will exist at the north or south side of town. The first block will be the 100 block and the numbering system will continue to the opposite side of the city.

          If numbering on a street is is interrupted by a park, gully or industrial plant, those block numbers are skipped to maintain continuity and ensure (for example) that the 4500 block is pretty much the same all across town.

          Now, there are some cities that do it differently. For example, the City of San Francisco assigns the 100 block of a street to its' very first block, no matter where it actually is. So if a street only runs for one block at the far end of a street that runs for miles, the 100 block of one street may run parallel to the 6500 block of another street. That is one case where you truly have to memorize every street in the city and not rely on logic to get around.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            Then you have a cluster like a neighboring city to me. Some of the streets names change with every bend in the road. One street I can think of has 8 names for the same street. Had to figure that out because we frequently backed each other on hot calls.
            Train for tomorrow, for you never know what it will bring to the fight.
            In the school of Policing, there is no graduation day.

            Arguing on the internet, is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that while you are getting dirty, the pig is actually enjoying it.
            Do Not Disturb sign should read, Already Disturbed Proceed With Caution.
            Even if the voices aren't real, They have some really good ideas.

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            • #7
              I think the easiest way to learn hundred blocks is by specific addresses or landmarks on the major streets. Like the supermarket address is 9414.. the night club on the opposite side of the street and a block north is 9515.. the Wells Fargo address several blocks north is 9800.. the apartment complex right next to the Wells Fargo is 10000, etc. You'll learn these addresses anyway when you go to your umpteenth shoplifting call at the supermarket and the 5th bar fight across the street that week or the many domestic violence calls at the apartment complex.

              Then there are those areas that don't "play by the rules" as far as the block numbers are concerned.. especially in residential areas or weird circle streets and such. On those, you may just have to watch the numbers on houses or businesses as you're driving along. There are many streets in my area where I don't truly "know" the block numbers to an exact degree. In those areas I usually use intersections/cross streets along with cardinal directions.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                Each city is different. You need to relax and let your training begin. You are just screwing yourself up right now.

                Yes. I could tell you. No. I'm not going to. That's what your FTO is for. I'm sure someone on here will answer you, thus taking away your goal to LEARN.
                My training begins in two weeks but I was told by my department that I better be studying city orientation before my first day of patrol. That is why I have taken to studying a city map, "driving" the city on google street view and driving the city on the weekend. Figured I would come on here to get some help with hundred blocks since it isn't making sense to me right now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't know if this applies everywhere but it did for every area I worked and in my own town...To determine which side of the street your call is own use these two words.
                  NOW North odd West...Addresses on the north and west side streets will end in a odd number.
                  SEE South even East. Addresses on the south and east side streets will end in a even number.
                  Retired LASD

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CaliMan35 View Post
                    Figured I would come on here to get some help with hundred blocks since it isn't making sense to me right now.
                    There's really not much to make sense of on the hundred blocks. Look at the addresses on the buildings. If every single address on Main St. starts with 31--, then all 6 miles of main street is the 3100 block. Very odd way of doing things, but I've never been to said "Main St." so I can't say that you're wrong. If the number on a building is 312, then that's the 300 block. If the number is 9616, then that's the 9600 block. There's really not much to it.

                    Just keep putting forth the effort, and you'll be fine. Don't overthink it.

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                    • #11
                      Our central street is Congress Ave, all streets North start at Congress @ 100 N and go up to 800 N, all streets South start at 100 S @ Congress and go to 800 S towards the Susquehanna.
                      The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                      I Am the Sheepdog.


                      "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                      that we are all that stands between
                      the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Studying maps and riding the streets are the best and only way. Get to where you can name the intersections ahead of you before you get there, cause your FTO will expect that at some point in your training. Don't forget about knowing about landmarks too (hospitals, malls, schools, etc.).

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                        • #13
                          Forget studying maps.
                          Forget "City Orientation"
                          Forget "hundred blocks'
                          Some cities follow those formats, some do not.
                          ...and there are some that follow the format, but not in every neighborhood or street may follow the rules.

                          I have been assigned to neighborhoods that I had no prior knowledge of prior to working there.
                          The best way to familiarize yourself with the area?

                          Simple, drive around it.
                          (you drive-not someone else)
                          ... and pay attention.

                          Keep a map with you or a GPS in case you get lost, or have to get somewhere and do not have time to fool around.
                          But seriously, rote memory is the best way to learn it and have it stick, and the best teacher is riding around in the area.
                          Yes, you can study a map, but that going to take hours, and is not really going to stick in your head.
                          Getting lost a couple of times and having to force yourself to figure it out will help with your spatial orientation.
                          Last edited by Sled; 01-11-2017, 05:41 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Also dispatchers are valuable. They tell you where to go [redacted] and how to get there.
                            Train for tomorrow, for you never know what it will bring to the fight.
                            In the school of Policing, there is no graduation day.

                            Arguing on the internet, is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that while you are getting dirty, the pig is actually enjoying it.
                            Do Not Disturb sign should read, Already Disturbed Proceed With Caution.
                            Even if the voices aren't real, They have some really good ideas.

                            Comment

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