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Q: Traffic Enforcement and Crime Reduction ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Traffic Enforcement and Crime Reduction
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: attorney26-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 13 Jun 2006 18:57 PDT
Expires: 13 Jul 2006 18:57 PDT
Question ID: 737945
I am looking for specific scholarly articles showing a relationship
between increased traffic enforcement and the reduction of violent
crimes and property crimes.  I need specific sources available for
review on the internet to be used for policy-making in a metropolitan
police department.  I will be happy to tip on top of the price if the
answer justifies it.
Subject: Re: Traffic Enforcement and Crime Reduction
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jun 2006 08:49 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

There is a body of literature relating traffic enforcement to
different types of crime (including violent and property crime),
although the literature does not appear to be very extensive.

I've listed below the main references that I came across in my search,
and have linked to the actual reports when such links are available. 
For a few studies, though, I could only find the citations, but no
online publication.

I've also included a reference to traffic enforcement and homeland
security, since this may be of interest to you as well.

I trust this information will fully meet your needs, but if there's
anything else I can do for you, just let me know by posting a request
for clarification.



Journal of Criminal Justice 28 (2000) 397 405

Broken windows, crumpled fenders, and crime

...research suggests that controlling traffic flow has an effect on crime.

...Lack of enforcement may send a signal to residents that police are
absent or uncaring, leading not only to a disregard of the traffic
safety rules and to higher accident rates but also to higher rates of
crime in the community generally, as reflected through the homicide
The effects of aggressive policing of disorder on serious crime 
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 
Jun 1999 

...This paper adds to a growing body of research which explores the
relationship between aggressive police strategies and serious crime.

[Not available online, but mentioned in several reports]
Josi, D., M. Donahue, and R. Magnus (2000). "Conducting Blue-Light
Specials or Drilling Holes in the Sky: Are Increased Traffic Stops
Better Than Routine Patrol in Taking a Bite out of Crime?" Police
Practice and Research 1(4):477-507

[This contains a good, up-to-date overview of much of the literature on this topic]

...Deployment of traffic law enforcement officers in many agencies has
not changed since 9/11, and remains a substantial resource that could
be used for prevention of terrorist attacks.

[no link is available for this document, probably because it is a decade old]
Traffic Enforcement's Role in the War on Crime
Stuster, J.W., Morford, G., and Sheehan, Jr., M. (1996). Traffic
Enforcement's Role In The War On Crime. Police Chief, 63 (7), 48-49
Looking Beyond The Ticket: Traffic Law Enforcement and Beyond

Peoria, IIlinois 
1994-95 Traffic Enforcement Results
...Total Criminal Arrests  Increased 34%
...Traffic Crashes  Decreased 12%
...Part One Crime Index  Decreased 6%


Police officers should be arresting criminals, not writing traffic tickets.

Traffic enforcement regularly identifies criminals and results in
their apprehension.

...A license plate violation resulted in the apprehension of the
suspect in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
...During 1994, traffic enforcement stops in Grand Prairie, Texas
accounted for 66 percent of all warrant arrests and 50 percent of the
arrests made for non-traffic related offenses.
...In Peoria, Illinois, during 1994 and 1995, an increase in traffic
enforcement contributed to a six percent decrease in violent crimes
and a 12 percent decrease in crashes.

Drugs, weapons, contraband, fugitives, and illegal aliens are
frequently found in vehicles during ?routine? traffic stops.

...During a traffic stop, a Glendale, Arizona officer recovered a
stolen vehicle, which led to the location and identification of shops
where parts from stolen vehicles were being sold.
...During 1995, through traffic enforcement efforts, the STOP program
in San Francisco resulted in 120 felony drug arrests, 84 loaded
weapons confiscated, 65 recovered stolen vehicles, 128 other felony
arrests, and 153 felony warrants issued.
...In October 1996, two suspects wanted in Ohio for a motel robbery
and kidnapping of a motel clerk were apprehended by an Indiana State
Trooper after stopping the suspect vehicle for speeding.
...In November 1995, an Albany, New York, police officer stopped a
vehicle without a front license plate. The vehicle was stolen and the
driver was wanted in connection with a New York City homicide.
...In July 1996, during a routine traffic stop, a Lincoln,
Massachusetts, police officer found a shotgun in the vehicle. The
shell casings matched those found at the scene of a double homicide.
Both occupants were arrested and charged in connection with the

...Safe & Sober combines public education with increased or additional
traffic enforcement in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries on
Minnesota roadways. Last year in Minnesota, traffic crashes cost 1.5
billion dollars, killed 600 and injured 46,064 people.
February 1, 2005 
Traffic enforcement proven to reduce crime 

...In 1994, when police in Peoria, Illinois, decided to make traffic
enforcement a priority, something remarkable happened. As officers
issued 24 per cent more traffic tickets over the next two years,
traffic collisions declined by 21 per cent and total criminal arrests
increased by 34 per cent. Why? Because when officers pulled over
motorists for traffic infractions, they found weapons, drugs,
suspended drivers and wanted criminals. In other words, the Peoria
police discovered that policing the roads had the unexpected side
effect of making the entire community safer.

...Similarly, in 1993, New Year City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani adopted
and implemented its "Broken Window" approach to law enforcement. Built
on the belief that small problems lead to larger ones, the strategy
focused police efforts not just on serious offences such as murder,
assault and robbery but also on traffic violations, including lesser
misdemeanours such as jaywalking. The result, in just five years: the
city experienced a 44 per cent decrease in overall crime, including a
60 per cent drop in its murder rate.
Kansas City Gun Experiment -- Kansas City, MO

...Traffic stops were most effective in locating illegal guns, with 1
gun found per 28 stops. Gun crimes, including drive-by shootings and
homicides, declined significantly during the 29-week experimental

[pretty good list of references included in this report]
Using Crackdowns to Address Specific Problems 

...Police have commonly used crackdowns to try to control robbery
problems. Several studies have concluded that in jurisdictions where
police aggressively enforce the law, the robbery rates are lower. 
Aggressive field interrogations35 and traffic enforcement are among
the specific crackdown tactics reported to have contributed to
reductions in robbery rates.

...Crackdowns that focus on behavior that might be connected to
burglary can help reduce burglary rates along with other crime rates.
Intensive field interview initiatives have been shown to help reduce
burglary,41 as have aggressive patrol, traffic enforcement,
drunken-driving enforcement, and street-level drug enforcement.

...Several well-evaluated studies have shown that crackdowns targeting
gun offenses can reduce gun-related crime. In a gun crackdown in
Indianapolis , police used two different tactics?one was to make a lot
of short traffic stops of limited intrusiveness, and another was to
target known offenders in high-crime areas and make longer stops with
more aggressive follow-up investigation. The tactic targeting known
offenders with more aggressive investigation proved more effective.

...Police checkpoints can be effective in reducing drunken driving and
alcohol-related crashes.  (However, the effect of drunken-driving
crackdowns on crashes is typically short-lived)

Again, let me know if there's anything more I can do for you on this.


search strategy -- searched Google and Google Scholar for combinations of:

"traffic enforcement OR stops"

attorney26-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you.  I think this will suit my needs well.  Of course I will
have to examine the more lengthy articles more closely, but they look

Subject: Re: Traffic Enforcement and Crime Reduction
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 14 Jun 2006 04:56 PDT
Not quite a scholarly article, but here is some good info right up your alley:

Google Search: "traffic enforcement" "violent crimes"
Subject: Re: Traffic Enforcement and Crime Reduction
From: jstuster-ga on 15 Aug 2006 16:08 PDT
I directed a study for NHTSA in 1995 that found significant declines
in Part I and Part II crimes in the vicinity of special speed
enforcement effort.  The report is titled, The Experimental Evaluation
of Municipal Speed Enforcement Programs and should be available from
NHTSA.  Also, I documented the Albuquerque Police Department?s Safe
Streets Program in a technical report with that title in 2001. It was
available at the following URL last time I checked.

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