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Injury accidents up 37.04% in Manteca
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Manteca’s streets were a bit less safe the first half of the year.

Accidents were up. Traffic tickets were down.

Manteca Police Department statistics for 2011 through the end of June indicated there were 304 vehicle accidents. That’s up 1.67 percent from the same six-month period in 2010 when there were 299 accidents.

Injury accidents, though, jumped 37.04 percent going from 54 to 74. Manteca hasn’t had a fatal traffic accident since 2009.

On the flip side, accidents with track-able property damage were down 5.71 percent going from 245 to 231.

Speeding has become more of a challenge for Manteca to enforce. 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.

The department is, however, still doing targeted speeding enforcement.

Studies show that well over 60 percent of the speeders on collector streets such as Woodward Avenue, Powers Avenue, and Crom Street are 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 June compared to the same Increasing in the six-month comparisons from 2010 to 2011:

•hit and run accidents are up 35 percent going from 54 to 74.

•driving under the influence accidents are up 36.84 percent going from 19 to 26.

The police chief has noted a typical Manteca resident is going to lose more financially than they ever will from property crimes. Bricker has indicated ideally the department would have at least five officers working traffic. The department had to prioritize resources for other more pressing concerns.

Total vehicle-related citations are down 16.2 percent through June of this year compared to through June of 2010. They went from 3,170 to 2,659.

Also dropping year-to-year in six-month comparisons from January to June was:

•driving under the influence arrests are down 37.41 percent going from 139 to 87.

•moving violations are down 21.62 percent going from 1,083 to 849.

•parking violations are down 54.77 percent going from 1,185 to 536.

•child restraint violations are down 25 percent going from 20 to 15.

•seat belt violations are down 12.89 percent going from 225 to 196.