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  • Question about traffic stops and it's effect on crime

    I have never been a big fan of making alot of traffic stops. I make enough to keep the department happy, but not as many as alot of officers.

    I prefer the other aspects of police work to running alot of traffic.

    Several of the guy's that I work with feel that alot of traffic stops tends to discourage burglaries, entering autos, armed robberies, and so forth.

    They say it tells the criminals that they need to go somewhere else to commit their crimes.

    Do you guy's think that running alot of traffic in an area discourages other crimes?

  • #2
    All of it has its functions. I think traffic stops in high crime area serves a very good purpose. However, traffic stops on the highway on the outskirts of the city aren't really going to affect crime inside the city. They have a purpose, though. We're all different and gravitate to certain aspects of the job. If I do a traffic stop it's either because you did something so blatant in front of me that I can't let it go OR I'm after something else and that's the avenue to get to you. Most of the time I'm using traffic stops for another purpose IE-someone hiding out in the projects not wanting to talk to me. You drop some cards around, turn up the heat, cramp the dealers sales...someone is going to turn him in.
    sigpic

    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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    • #3
      I think that high visibility deters crimes and there is not much more visible than red lights (or blue lights as the case may be).

      It is like anything, if the crooks "think" there is an increased possibility that they will get caught they will go somewhere else.

      Perception becomes reality. Also if the officers are looking, they are more apt to find PC that leads to other things. Probability of finding crimes increases with increased frequency of stops.

      Using the stops to gain intel can lead to informants that lead to bigger and better things.

      IMHO
      Ut humiliter opinor

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      • #4
        Traffic stops are investigative tools and are critical to pro-active law enforcement.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          Once upon a time I had an undercover operation going on trying to buy dope at a local motel. At the same time some others in the department had set up several DL check points around town. We couldn't buy any dope because everyone was worried about the check points. I know that a check point is not exactly a traffic stop but they both invlove flashing blue lights.
          ROLL TIDE!!!

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          • #6
            Traffic is a great way to show a visible presence in an area. Hard to get a consent on a vehicle without a traffic stop. Perfect for warrants.

            If you can get PC on a vehicle leaving a known drug house. What better way to get PC for a search warrant on the house. If nothing else you know who is coming and leaving.

            Lots of ways traffic is good if you have the time for it.

            I have found dope, guns, stolen goods, burglary tools. Even caught a fair amount of people with ski masks, guns and duct tape or rope on a few occasions. Wonder what they were doing with those in the car in the summer?
            Last edited by Monkeybomb; 10-10-2009, 07:56 PM.
            The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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            • #7
              Traffic stops, in my opinion, are the most effective tactic's in combating crime... in my opinion. I'll give you a little example.

              I live in a smaller city that borders up to a larger city. The only thing separating these two cities is less than a mile distance. My city well known for it's traffic stops, the city next door is larger and rarely has the time to stop cars due to call volume.

              I've talked to a lot of dopers, whether on traffic stops or in the jails, and they all tell me they try to stay out of the city because we stop everything that moves. It's amazing the difference between our two cities, yet we're so close... some guys don't understand this aspect of law enforcement, and give other guys a hard time for stopping so many cars or for stopping cars for petty reasons but this is the kind of stuff that separates us from the larger city that is unable to do so... and in return we have a much lower crime rate per capita.

              I'm not saying it's the only thing law enforcement is about but blue lights deter crime of all kinds.

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              • #8
                One of my department's more effective strategies for lowering crime in a high crime area is something called the Saturation Team, who's only function is to saturate an area with directed patrol and officer initiated activity. Essentially they stop anyone who is doing anything wrong and arrest pretty much any criminal they come across. When a criminal is in an area and either gets stopped every couple days or sees 5 units with people stopped in an area, they tend to think twice and leave the area. The goal isn't to enforce traffic violations, it is to catch criminals and people up to no good.

                So though I'm not sworn, I see stats and am in some of the meetings regarding the issue. While it is not the "end all be all" way to reduce crime, it is a good tool that works. We are now starting to come in with a community oriented approach after the saturation has started to push people out and use it to try and keep them out.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by crazynova View Post

                  So though I'm not sworn, I see stats and am in some of the meetings regarding the issue. While it is not the "end all be all" way to reduce crime, it is a good tool that works. We are now starting to come in with a community oriented approach after the saturation has started to push people out and use it to try and keep them out.
                  You do happen to be in the sworn section. They tend to frown on non-sworn posting here even with the best of intentions. I'm just sayin'.
                  If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

                  ---Jack Handey

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                  • #10
                    Does it deter crime? I like to think it does.

                    Does it deter my call volume in my area.....YES!


                    I personally spend, or try to atleast, most of my shift in my post area. I have one section that is lower income with a lot of kids and foot traffic. I do radar and other traffic stops in this area A LOT.

                    When I stop a car I give them distance once I see their tag and turn on ALL my equipment. I want my siren to run for a second as well as the lights. If the car takes off I already have the take # in the KDT. Some people do not use their siren and only their lights for traffic. In my area I want EVERYTHING going so EVERYONE in the neighborhood knows that the police are right around the corner.

                    I do a good bit of traffic but do not write many tickets. I get a good amount of warrants off of my traffic as well.

                    I frown upon the people who write tickets on every stop. I usually skip on the petty 40-60 dollar tickets also. If you fail to show your registration card or something silly I usually let the slide.

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                    • #11
                      I did traffic stops the majority of my career. I spent my last twenty three years in LE, with an agency, where traffic stops are among it's top mandated priorities. All of that said, I've known many, many Officers who had a distinctly different attitude concerning traffic stops. These guys/gals spent as much time as they could checking on businesses, and residential areas of their districts. They learned who and what was moving , and took pro-active steps to reduce crime in the area. Sometimes, but certainly not always, these steps involved a traffic stop. OTH, a lot of what they did, was pretty well summed up in Yogi Berra's comment: "You can observe an awfull lot, just by looking around". In my traffic stop days, our primary objective was the reduction of accidents, and that's valid enough. In an inner-city neighborhood, that objective is probably going to be the reduction of crime. Both are very worthy objectives, and in the inner city setting, the reduction of crime being far more important.

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                      • #12
                        Why dont you like traffic stops ???... do you not like giving out tickets, ? no you not enjoy the potential for negative contacts with citizens ???... What . ?

                        I would say if you do not like issuing tickets, make stops for equipment violations and issue repair orders, fix it ticketas, or even warnings. You do not have to write 100 tickets per month, but i do agree that burglars, and other criminals seeing a lot of traffic stops being made in one area tend to go elsewhere..


                        So, YES, th more traffic stops, the less crime. How are the suspected bruglars, robbers, car thieves coming into the area ??? How are they leaving ???....

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sackett View Post
                          I prefer the other aspects of police work to running alot of traffic.
                          Which are?

                          There's more than one way to get the feline denuded, and if you're actively out there making arrests and solving problems who cares what tactic you're using? I run a lot of traffic and write a lot of tickets. Maybe you get some dope or a warrant, maybe you just get a ticket/warning. Won't know until you stop them.

                          Besides the possibility of getting something bigger, run traffic at a high crash intersection for a few days and then see how many fewer crash reports you have to knock out there. I started having problems with crashes at one in particular. Wrote about seven tickets a day for a few days for violation of the "no left turn" rule and ta-dah! from two crash reports a week to none in two months. Its not always about the arrest. Improved public safety and prevented me from taking paper at that intersection.

                          Now, if the other aspect you are referring to is hanging out at the gas station waiting for a run to come out, go run some traffic.
                          I miss you, Dave.
                          http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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                          • #14
                            What I meant by other aspects of police work is, patrol, and looking for suspicious behavior from people in the area. If you run a stop sign or light, I will stop you. If your tag is expired, I will stop you. Illegal left turn, I will stop you.

                            I just do more patrol than some of the other officers. They concentrate on traffic pretty much all of the time.

                            I guess my question is this: Do the traffic guys reduce crime in a bigger way than just doing agressive patrol and checking out suspicious things.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sackett View Post
                              What I meant by other aspects of police work is, patrol, and looking for suspicious behavior from people in the area. If you run a stop sign or light, I will stop you. If your tag is expired, I will stop you. Illegal left turn, I will stop you.

                              I just do more patrol than some of the other officers. They concentrate on traffic pretty much all of the time.

                              I guess my question is this: Do the traffic guys reduce crime in a bigger way than just doing agressive patrol and checking out suspicious things.
                              Don't know, but it seems like that question has been pretty well answered. OTH, if you're looking for a definitive, it's good all the time answer,I'm not certain there is one. Once more: If I'm running radar out on the Interstate, I'm probably not reducing a whole lot of crime---although I could be. (Drug interdiction) If my City PD counterpart is watching a red light or a stop sign in a high crime neighborhood, yeah, he's probably detering some crime. Just don't know if you can quantify it though.

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