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Accidents up 67.5 percent
Crashes go up as traffic officers go down
Traffic enforcement is designed to reduce the potential for accidents.

Speeding on Woodward Avenue - as well as elsewhere in Manteca - is becoming more of a challenge for enforcement.

That’s because Manteca Police have been operating for almost two years with just two traffic officers instead of five. The reduction was made in 2009 when department cutbacks prompted Police Chief Dave Bricker to shift resources to keep on-the-street staffing the same to handle life-threatening situations and felonies as well as to keep the pressure on gangs.

Bricker, while not taking a position on the proposed changes to reduce a section of Woodard Avenue to two lanes and put in place 6-foot wide bike lanes to help slow traffic - noted the police can use any passive help they can to slow speeds.

“We are still doing targeted enforcement,” Bricker said in reference to complaints the department receives about speeding.

They will assign officers at times when the most speeding takes place.

Bricker noted studies show that well over 60 percent of the speeders on collector streets such as Woodward Avenue, Powers Avenue, and Crom Street is done by people living within four to six blocks of the street.

The premise of traffic enforcement and issuing tickets is to reduce accidents.

Accidents are up 4.03 percent this year through the end of May compared to the same period in 2010. They went from 248 to 258. Property damage only accidents dropped 7.69 percent going from 208 to 192.

Increasing in the five-month comparisons from 2010 to 2011:

•injury accidents are up 67.5 percent going from 40 to 67.

•hit and run accidents are up 16.67 percent going from 18 to 21.

•driving under the influence accidents are up 53.33 percent going from 15 to 23.

“A typical Manteca resident is going to lose more financially than they ever will from (property) crimes,” Bricker noted. “In a perfect world we’d have at least five officers working traffic. We have to prioritize our resources, though, for other more pressing concerns.”

Total vehicle-related citations are down 9.09 percent through May of this year compared to through May of 2010. They went from 2,597 to 2,361.

Also dropping year-to-year in five-month comparisons from January to May were:

•driving under the influence arrests down 42.86 percent going from 126 to 72.

•moving violations down 6.02 percent going from 831 to 781.

•parking violations down 53.49 percent going from 1,088 to 506.

Targeted enforcement campaigns funded by state grants did see two categories of tickets increase in year-to-year comparisons.

Child restraint violations are up 7.69 percent going from 13 to 14. Seat belt violations are up 12.42 percent going from 161 to 181.