The Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal sections are reporting that Illinois traffic stops and citations have dropped dramatically in the past year.
The Tribune reports that:
The Tribune analysis found that, statewide, stops dropped 9 percent and the number of ticketed drivers dipped 13 percent. Police across the state are stopping fewer motorists and issuing far fewer tickets as the recession lingers. Compared to 2008, the number of ticketed drivers has dropped by nearly a fourth.
Also dropping statewide, albeit slightly, were the odds of getting a ticket. In 2010, more than 57 percent of all stopped drivers got a ticket. In 2011, that fell below 55 percent.
Here are some more numbers:
Northwest suburbs: “Municipal police departments in the northwest suburbs stopped 247,736 drivers in 2011 and ticketed 150,149, according to the analysis That compares to those same departments stopping 261,202 drivers in 2010 and ticketing 165,696. In all, stops were down 5 percent while drivers ticketed were down 9 percent.”
North suburbs: “Across the north suburbs, municipal police departments stopped 5 percent fewer drivers in 2011 than they did in 2010, according to state data. Traffic tickets issued by those departments were down 9 percent in that same time period, state figures show.”
South and Southwest suburbs: “Municipal police departments in the south and southwest suburbs stopped 256,670 drivers in 2011 and ticketed 149,813. That’s compared to those same departments stopping 259,659 drivers in 2010 and ticketing 154,014, according to the analysis.”
This has been a continuing trend over the past several years. I wrote about the declining number of DUI arrests here. The Trib Local pieces seem to argue that the main reason behind the falling numbers are the reduced number of patrol officers due to budget cutbacks and retirements, increasing use of warnings instead of issuing citations, and drivers driving less miles and being more careful.
I think another reason might be the increasing use of red light and automated speed detectors to issue citations, over traffic enforcement.
What do you think?