Will Bratton Direct All NYPD Precincts to Get Behind Vision Zero?

NYPD summons data from last month show that ticketing for deadly traffic violations increased overall compared to February 2013, but in the weeks after the official launch of Vision Zero, enforcement remained wildly inconsistent from precinct to precinct.

WNYC mapped data on citations for speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, and red-light running. The dark blue areas on the map indicate the biggest increases, but reporters Jenny Ye and Kat Aaron note that those numbers come with a caveat:

Some precincts wrote 10 times more tickets this February than they did in February 2013. But that’s because ticketing last year was strikingly low. In Brooklyn’s 84th precinct, which covers Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights, officers wrote just 10 tickets for speeding, failure to yield and ignoring a signal combined. This year, they have issued more than 100.

Though the 84th Precinct figures from this February are a 930 percent increase over February 2013, 103 tickets in a month for three dangerous driving offenses still represents a small fraction of total violations that could be ticketed.

In the Upper West Side’s 24th Precinct, which in January responded to three pedestrian deaths with a jaywalking crackdown, local officers wrote just 64 summonses last month for speeding, failure to yield, and red-light running combined, compared to 47 in February 2013. (The Daily News reported today that the 24th Precinct will be getting a new commanding officer after Inspector Nancy Barry was named Bronx adjutant.)

A big pink swath in Queens includes the 108th and 110th precincts, which cover some of the most dangerous major streets in the city. Though the 110th issues a lot of summonses compared to other NYPD precincts, enforcement last month was down from 2013. With just 181 tickets issued in the three mapped categories, the 108th wrote about half as many summonses as the 110th.

Other precincts writing fewer summonses since the launch of Vision Zero are the 10th (Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea), the 23rd (East Harlem), the 30th (Hamilton Heights), the 34th (Washington Heights and Inwood), the 69th (Canarsie), and the 120th and 123rd, both in Staten Island.

In deep red are: the 42nd Precinct (Morrisania); the 101st (Rockaways); and the 111th in northeastern Queens, where officers issued a total of 21 tickets last month to drivers putting lives at risk, down from 31 in February 2013.

It’s clear that enforcement must improve dramatically in order to meet Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero targets. Unless and until Albany allows NYC to ramp up its automated enforcement programs, the bulk of that work will fall to NYPD. The question is whether de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton will continue to give commanding officers the autonomy to pick and choose what laws they want to enforce, resulting in a patchwork of “red” and “blue” precincts, or if they will direct the entire force to address deadly driving.