EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 3, 2013

Plaistow police are stopping many more drivers

By Alex Lippa

---- — PLAISTOW — In the first three months of the year, Plaistow police have stopped 1,000 more vehicles than they did for the same period a year ago.

Credit the addition of four police officers.

From Jan. 1 through March 31, police stopped 2,461 vehicles. That’s 1,048 more than they stopped last year.

“When our new officers come out of the academy, they really want to keep themselves busy,” Deputy Chief Kathleen Jones said. “They have been out there making themselves known.”

Expect to see an even bigger uptick in stops now that spring has arrived, she said.

“Traffic safety is always the number one complaint that we get during the spring,” Jones said. “It’s a quality of life issue. We don’t want people not to be able to back out of their driveways because people are speeding through the neighborhoods.”

Christine Eldred, 36, of West Pine Street said drivers like to use her road to cut between Route 125 and Main Street. She said she has called police to complain in the past, but nothing ever came of it.

She hasn’t called this year, she said, and she may not have to because she has noticed a change in police presence.

“The police are sitting there and they have been pulling people over right and left for the last few weeks,” Eldred said. “They’ve definitely been out there patrolling the street more than in past years.”

Eldred said motorists routinely go over the 30 mph speed limit on her road.

“I have little ones play in the front yard and it’s insane,” she said. “You have motorcycles flying down the road going 50 mph. Something needed to be done.”

That’s not the only number going up. DWI arrests have more than tripled for the same period. Last year, police made three DWI arrests in January through March. This year, they are already at 10.

“The more traffic enforcement you do, the more things you are going to find.” Jones said. “It is going to increase everything such as warrant arrests and operating after license suspension arrests. DWI arrests go right along with that.”

Police have issued 107 traffic citations, more than double the 48 issued at the same point last year. Total arrests are at 168 this year, up from 142 last year.

While traffic stops are up, burglaries are down. Only four have been reported so far this year, compared to 13 last year.

“Those are impacted because of the visibility of the officers,” Jones said. “If you are thinking of making a burglary or theft and are targeting a location, hopefully our visibility will be prohibitive to that. We want people thinking, not in Plaistow, there’s cops everywhere.”

Thefts and robberies are also down to 74, after 90 at this point last year.