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Traffic enforcement is still less than pre-pandemic, but so are traffic crashes

Traffic at night in Cincinnati
Traffic at night in Cincinnati

Traffic crashes in Cincinnati were at a seven-year low last year, according to police department data. That's despite a lower number of traffic stops and citations compared to pre-pandemic levels.

City Council requested a report about traffic enforcement, and CPD Patrol Bureau Commander Lt. Col. Mike John presented the data to council's Public Safety and Government Committee Tuesday.

"[Enforcement is] very purposeful," John said. "We don't fish with it, we don't cast with a net. If somebody says, 'You do equal enforcement over the 52 neighborhoods,' we do not, because we do not have enough personnel. We go to where the data tells us to go."

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The report says CPD issued about 26,400 citations in 2023, slightly higher than the year before but about 35% lower than 2019, right before a significant decrease due to the pandemic.

"We don't put a number out in terms of, we want to go out and write X number of citations," John said. "But we want to keep driving down the number of crashes that we have in the city, and we've been pretty successful at doing that."

CPD conducted three traffic blitzes last year, and John says targeting areas with the highest number of crashes and resident complaints has been very effective.

"Much like if there's a heavy snowfall, public works is going to clear roads in major thoroughfares first, and then go to the smaller neighborhood streets and clear there," he said. "So to keep those major arteries in the city [as] safe places for people to drive, for pedestrians be able to walk, so we'll keep doing that."

The crash data John cited was not immediately available on request, but the Cincy Insights public dashboard shows 14,633 traffic crashes in 2023, about 14% fewer than in 2021.

Although overall traffic crashes are trending down, crashes involving a pedestrian are trending up.

RELATED: How Cincinnati's 'Complete Streets' safety policy performed over the last year

Neighborhoods with the highest number of traffic citations last year include some of the city’s largest neighborhoods, like Westwood and West and East Price Hill. Others include small neighborhoods with high-traffic throughways like Queen City Avenue in South Fairmount.

A CPD spokesperson says more comprehensive data will be available in the annual year-end review in the next couple of weeks. The department has conducted one traffic blitz so far this year and has plans for three or four more.

See the full report at this link.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.