Traffic Stops Can Be Beneficial

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Slate.com has posted an article that discusses how traffic stops can be more beneficial than you might expect.

For example, according to the article:

What do Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, and 9/11 ring-leader Mohammed Atta have in common? They’re all murderers, yes, but another curious detail uniting them is that they were all also brought to police attention by “routine” traffic violations.

The first benefit of a “routine” traffic stop is that “it is a net for catching bigger fish.”

One reason simply has to do with the frequency of the traffic stop, particularly in a country like the United States, where the car is the dominant mode of transportation: Most crimes involve driving. But another factor is that people with off-road criminal records have been shown, in a number of studies, to commit more on-road violations.

A study found a direct correlation between a decrease in traffic stops and a rise in traffic fatalities. From 2001-2006 there was an 11% rise in traffic fatalities related to speeding in New York City. During that time, there was an 11% decrease in the NYPD issuing speeding summons. The idea of “folk crime” discourages an increase in traffic stops by saying that police departments, that are already stretched thin, should focus on resolving violent crimes instead of pulling people over for things like speeding. Ironically, more people are killed in traffic related accidents in a year than by “stranger homicides.”

Another benefit of traffic stops is an increase in public safety.

…the new Department of Justice initiative called DDACTS, or Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, which has found that there is often a geographic link between traffic crashes and crime. By putting “high-visibility enforcement” in hot spots of both crime and traffic crashes, cities like Baltimore have seen reductions in both.

Traffic stops might be a nuisance, but there are definitely benefits, such as punishing reckless drivers who put the public in danger. Traffic stops also lead to a decrease in crashes and other crime. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

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