Ticket tally: 2,733 in 2008 | ParkRecord.com

Ticket tally: 2,733 in 2008

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City police officers in 2008 issued 2,733 tickets and warned another 3,391 people, according to the Police Department’s annual crime report.

Nearly all of the tickets, approximately 7.5 each day, were issued to drivers. The Police Department has long assigned officers to traffic patrols, with four officers and a sergeant currently making up the traffic platoon.

Police Chief Wade Carpenter, who took over the department in mid-2008, said in an interview the number of tickets written by the officers should not be seen as a "report card" on the efforts to curb speeders and drivers violating other traffic laws, though.

The chief said the department complements its traffic patrols with other programs, such as enforcing crosswalk rules through special operations. He also said the number of traffic accidents reported to the police is falling, declining to 543 in 2008, the fewest since 2004.

"People are more aware we’re out there," Carpenter said.

The Police Department does not use a quota-based ticketing system, meaning that the officers are not required to write a certain number of tickets on each shift. But they also have standing orders to spend some of their down time conducting traffic patrols.

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"There’s no question the citations are being written when they’re warranted," the chief said.

The ticket numbers were similar to those recorded in past years.

The Police Department for years have received complaints from regular Parkites about speeding drivers and drivers violating other traffic laws, prompting a series of police measures like more patrols and crosswalk operations in which an officer poses as a pedestrian in an effort catch drivers who do not yield to pedestrians.

Meanwhile, the crime report indicated Park City remains largely free of violent crimes. According to the report, there were four rapes reported, two reported robberies and four arson reports. There were no homicides in 2008. The number of reports deemed to be major crimes, 1,043, rose 8.2 percent from the year before, but the number was in the range of other years in the decade.

"It is a safe community," Carpenter said, urging people to be aware of their surroundings regardless and adding, "We don’t have random acts of violence."

Some of the details from the report include:

The number of reported vehicle burglaries rose to 83 from 69 the year before. The figure, though, is within the range of previous years this decade.

Carpenter said many of the cases were a result of somebody leaving a vehicle unlocked. He said burglars in Park City normally do not smash a window to get to the goods inside.

The chief recommends people remove goods from vehicles or keep what is inside out of view. He said, when possible, people should park in well-lit areas and in places where there are people around.

"To me, it’s amazing that people don’t have more awareness to their surroundings," Carpenter said.

The value of goods that were reported lost in crimes dropped to $893,362 in 2008, the lowest since 2005. Carpenter said the drop signifies crime-prevention programs are working. The Police Department in 2008 recovered $219,172 worth of goods in 2008.

The Police Department arrested 531 people in 2008, the fewest since the 2002 Winter Olympic year. Not counting the Olympic year, the number of arrests were the fewest since at least 1996.