Pitkin County traffic citations jump in ’07 | AspenTimes.com
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Pitkin County traffic citations jump in ’07

Joel Stonington
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Crime in Pitkin County did not change much from 2006 to 2007, though traffic stops, traffic tickets and DUI arrests did increase significantly, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Traffic citations from the sheriff jumped significantly from last year, from 284 in 2006 to 510 in 2007. But that’s still only about one traffic ticket per eight traffic stops, according to Pitkin County Undersheriff Joe DiSalvo, who estimated traffic stops at 300 to 400 per month.

Tensions between drivers often run wild on Highway 82, and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office fielded extensive complaints during the past few years ” especially regarding the HOV lane in the upper Roaring Fork Valley.

“We are making a real effort based on calls from citizens who say they want more traffic enforcement,” DiSalvo said. “We have gotten those complaints, and we have heard them loud and clear.”

With increased traffic stops come increased DUI arrests. In 2007, DUIs increased by roughly 32 percent, from 34 in 2006 to 50 in 2007. Accidents, however, were the same in 2006 and 2007 at 175 each year.

Serious crimes saw little change from 2006, with an increase of 8 percent in total crime against persons, such as assault and harassment.

There were eight sexual assaults in 2007 compared to four in 2006. Though with such small numbers, DiSalvo said he did not believe the change merited much comment.

“The good news is, the stuff everyone really cares about … violent crime … remains static,” DiSalvo said. “I would have liked to see zero sexual assaults for the last five years. Is that realistic? I don’t know.”

All told, the sheriff’s office responded to 17,017 calls for service, an increase of 21 percent from 2006, and almost exactly the same number as the Aspen Police Department, which logged 17,034 calls for service in 2007. Total arrests numbered 198, half the number of arrests Aspen police logged in 2007. The police department reported 400 arrests for the year.

The report did not include data on how many arrests led to convictions.

“I don’t see anything [in the statistics] that says we need to make some serious changes,” said DiSalvo. “We live in a nice place.”

jstonington@aspentimes.com


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