Magazine article Law & Order

Traffic Enforcement Equals Crime Reduction

Magazine article Law & Order

Traffic Enforcement Equals Crime Reduction

Article excerpt

When you perform routine traffic enforcement in areas of high crime, the crime rate drops. That is one of those statements that, at face value, seems totally obvious. It makes sense that crime at least displaces with the added presence of active patrol vehicles. Yet, the rate of crime also drops, not just the change in location.

Since those statements are either not obvious to, or challenged by, some police managers, the NHTSA and the BJA have teamed up to prove it. Yes, this is an unlikely partnership of government agencies, but they have come together under a new program called Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, DDACTS (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/law-enforcement/trafficsafety/ddacts.htm).

At the core of the issue is prioritizing strained and limited police resources for the maximum effect. So often, traffic enforcement is the first area to be cut back as staff levels fall or as gasoline prices rise. After all, traffic enforcement is only about collecting revenue from speeding citations. And traffic enforcement doesn't have anything to do with real crime. And the officers from the traffic division never talk with officers from the crime division. Everyone knows this.

Not so fast, says the BJA and NHTSA. And the IACP, the National Sheriffs Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National District Attorney's Association, and the Governor's Highway Safety Association. And the early results from a half-dozen test sites in cities and counties across the U. …

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