An officer of the Nashville Police Department (Tennessee) describes how his agency is using data on traffic crashes to improve the cost- effectiveness of police efforts to reduce traffic crashes and their consequences (fatalities, medical costs, property damage, and lost productivity).
The Nashville Police Department (NPD) focused on the development of High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) in crash hot spots. This was because evidence suggests that traffic law enforcement can lead to reductions in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Such targeting of crash hot spots required the analysis of both NPD and Tennessee Highway Patrol data on traffic crashes. Crash data encompassed location, times, severity, and contributing factors, as well as traffic volume. This data analysis informed the development of an HVE campaign in precincts where the data showed traffic crashes were concentrated. The HVE plan developed deployed a group of officers along target areas for 2 hours leading up to the afternoon rush hour 2 days a week. Officers' focus shifted from the number of traffic stops made or tickets issued toward specific risk behaviors that could lead to a crash. Briefings were conducted after each operational period to collect data on the types of violations officers observed and citations issued. Problems and areas for improvement were discussed. As a result of the HVE operations, traffic crashes declined significantly in the target areas, even while crashes citywide continued to increase. A cost-benefit analysis of the plan determined that the reduction in crashes relieved officers of a significant amount of time they had previously spent responding to traffic crashes, thus enabling them to engage in other responsibilities. 3 notes