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Howard police launch data-based traffic enforcement program

A new traffic enforcement program by Howard County police will rely on data from previous traffic incidents to dictate the deployment of officers with the hope of deterring accidents and illegal behavior, police announced this week.

The initiative is called STEP (Specialized Traffic Enforcement Program) and was developed by an internal focus group created in February.

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Police said the work group identified trends in county traffic data, which allowed them to plot particular times and places where a high-volume of incidents -- including collisions, DUI offenses, speeding and aggressive driving -- occur. The department will deploy patrols in the problem areas identified by the work group, since police say high-visibility traffic enforcement impacts drivers' behavior.

The program will be evaluated and analyzed every six months to determine if it is working, police said.

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"This program is similar to the data-based strategic policing we use to identify and address emerging crime issues," said Police Chief Gary Gardner. "We are expanding this model to our roadways and using statistical analysis to deploy resources where they are most needed to keep our driving public safe."

Police Captain Michael Yetter, commander of the department's special operations bureau, said the enforcement will not detract from officers normal duties.

Police have released a list of roadways that will see increased focus. They are detailed below:

  • Baltimore National Pike between Normandy and Rt. 29
  • Baltimore National Pike between Rt. 29 and Governors Run
  • Main Street between Rodgers Avenue and Baltimore County line
  • Rt. 29 between Rt. 175 and Broken Land Parkway
  • Rt. 29 between Rt. 175 and Rt. 100
  • Rt. 29 between Rt. 70 and Baltimore National Pike
  • Rt. 29 between Rt. 108 and Rt. 100
  • Rt. 175 between Waterloo Road and Rt. 29
  • Rt. 175 between Dobbin Road and Waterloo Road
  • Washington Blvd. between Gorman Road and Whiskey Bottom Road
  • Washington Blvd. between Whiskey Bottom Road and P.G. County line
  • Washington Blvd. between Rt. 175 and Rt. 100
  • Waterloo Road between Rt. 175 and Snowden River Parkway
  • Rt. 100 between Snowden River Parkway and Long Gate Parkway
  • Snowden River Parkway between Broken Land Parkway and Rt. 29

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