Correlating Driving Misbehavior with Crime

Is there a correlation between running red lights and more violent crime like robberies and homicide? Gabe Klein, Chicago's distinguished outgoing transportation commissioner, thinks so. It's been dubbed "the broken windows effect."
December 3, 2013, 6am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein resigned on Nov. 29. In an "exit interview with Chicago Mag, (he) predicted that in the next few years, cities will be paying more attention to the correlation between lawbreaking by drivers and other kinds of crime," writes Tanya Snyder for Streetsblog. 

Klein has observed that correlation in Chicago "where you have people speeding, running stop signs, drunk driving,,,you also have rape and muggings and murders.”

“I think it’s a broken windows effect,” Klein said. “If you get control of the traffic crime, I think it can go a long way.”

Refresher from U.S. Department of Justice e-newsletter "Broken windows is based on the notion that signs of incivility, like broken windows, signify that nobody cares, which leads to greater fear of crime and a reduction of community efficacy, which in turn can lead to more serious crimes and greater signs of incivility, repeating the cycle into a potential spiral of decay."

It's not a novel observation. Two days prior to the publication of the Chicago Magazine interview, Streetsblog wrote about former NYPD commissioner, Bill Bratton, making the same observation.

And the federal government is looking into the correlation. Snyder points to a law enforcement operational model called the Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) that is "supported by a partnership among the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and two agencies of the Department of Justice."

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Published on Monday, November 25, 2013 in Streetsblog
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