SFPD’s “Focus on the Five” tickets for dangerous driving violations dropped 6 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to that of last year. Image: SFPD
First, the good news: In the last quarter of 2014, SFPD increased speeding enforcement 91 percent, from 933 to 1,781 citywide.
The bad news? Tickets to pedestrians more than doubled, from 436 to 1,110, continuing a recent trend of increasing tickets for people walking and biking faster than those for dangerous driving. All told, pedestrian fines accounted for 3.6 of total traffic citations in San Francisco, up from 1.7 percent over the same period the year before.
More than two years into the SFPD’s “Focus on the Five” campaign, the department still shows no signs of changing an agency culture that seems unable to prioritize enforcement of motorist behavior that endangers life and limb.
SFPD Traffic Commander Ann Mannix. Image: SFGovTV
At a supervisors committee hearing yesterday, SFPD Traffic Commander Ann Mannix, who took her post in January, expressed no intention of meeting the department’s official goal of issuing 50 percent of traffic citations to the top five most dangerous violations, which are all driver violations.
Mannix presented SFPD’s latest enforcement stats [PDF], showing dismal progress. The share of “Focus on the Five” tickets increased just two percent last year compared to 2013, from 22 percent to 24 percent. The trend is looking worse so far in 2015: In the first quarter of the year, the share of “Five” tickets dropped by 6 percent compared to the year before.
“We won’t change much from 2014 to 15,” Mannix told the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee. “I believe that you’ll see the numbers rise. Will we be at 50 percent? I don’t think so. Richmond District will be at 50 percent.”
Richmond Station continues to be the only station to meet the 50 percent goal. Mannix asserts that SFPD can’t meet its self-imposed Focus on the Five goal because officers can’t be choosy about what they enforce, and that police staffing is occupied with non-traffic duties.
Mannix repeated the argument of her predecessor, Mikail Ali, that the SFPD is increasing traffic enforcement overall, with a 54 percent increase in total traffic citations between 2013 and 2014.
But that statistic masks troubling enforcement trends. For instance, tickets for failure-to-yield, a leading cause of pedestrian fatalities, actually declined in the last quarter of 2014 compared to the last quarter of 2013, from 104 to 81.