Calgary’s police chief pledged Wednesday to boost both in-person and electronic speed enforcement on city streets after repeatedly hearing from members of city council and the public.
“There’s not any community we go to where one of the top issues if not the top issue is traffic safety in the community,” Chief Rick Hanson told reporters. “We will do everything we can to make the streets safer.”
That will include “more police officers out there during enforcement” and “more electronic enforcement,” Hanson added.
Coun. Shane Keating said “speeding, specifically on residential collector roads” is the No.1 concern he hears from his Ward 12 constituents, and a lot of councillors “are in the same boat.”
Keating asked Hanson if bylaw officers could be retrained to do more traffic enforcement but the chief said police prefer to handle it “comprehensively” as a “core function” of their larger crime-fighting strategy.
“Individual, officer-based traffic enforcement is vital,” Hanson said. “It’s amazing the number of traffic stops where there’s other infractions.”
The chief also voiced support for stiffer fines for speeding in residential areas, saying it’s something the provincial government should take a “good, serious look at.”
The flood and the especially cold winter made last year an “aberration” in a number of traffic respects, Hanson added. He said not too much should be read into the total of 40 traffic fatalities in 2013 – a 39-per-cent jump over the previous five-year average – but added it’s something police are monitoring.
“Statistics are such that every year there’s a variation,” Hanson said. “If last year was a bad one, then this year is one where you could see a drop because we are putting extra effort into the enforcement.”