Reporting Joe Shortsleeve
BOSTON (CBS) – Every driver dreads getting pulled over, whether it’s for speeding or an expired inspection sticker.
The I-Team wanted to find out if the chances of being stopped varied from town-to-town.
The consequences are high. Three speeding tickets results in a suspended license, for example.
Driving from Boston to Brookline on Allandale Road turned into an expensive trip for Mark Bell. He got $150 speeding ticket.
“The whole thing was unfortunate,” he told WBZ-TV. “I wish I never went on Allandale Road.”
The I-Team found the chances of getting pulled over in Brookline is much higher than surrounding communities.
Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary thinks that’s a good thing.
O’Leary believes Boston-bound commuters take advantage of the town, and a strong police presence on traffic issues sends a good overall message.
“If you are coming to Brookline or you are in Brookline, and you are trying to plan a crime or do a crime and you see an active police department that is making good stops, is out there being visible, there is good chance you might go somewhere else,” explained O’Leary.
Drivers like Mark Bell think they’re being set up. “It seemed like a little business there. They were pulling them over all day long.”
O’Leary says his officers do not have quotas about the number of tickets they need to write each month. He also said his department doesn’t keep any revenue. It is split between the state and the town.
The I-Team crunched the numbers for about 40 of the largest cities and towns in our viewing area and found Brookline issues the most moving violations on a per capita basis.
Read: The Full List (pdf)
Coming in second was Salem, followed by Chelsea, Lowell, and Methuen.
On the flip side, Medford had the fewest moving violations per capita and was joined on the bottom by Revere, Beverly, Malden, and Marlboro.
The differences can be severe.
On a per capita basis, Salem writes 10 times more violations than neighboring Beverly. Brookline issues three times as many as Boston.
Wayne Sampson of the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association said there is no state standard and policies are handled on the local level.
He added most of the time departments are responding to citizen complaints of speeding in their neighborhoods.
Manpower issues also play a role in how much emphasis a community can put on traffic enforcement.
Mark Bell isn’t buying any of that. He thinks he knows what this is really about.
“It isn’t going to make the streets safe. It is just a money making operation.”