Traffic Ticket Discrimination Against Out-of-Towners Everywhere, But Crystal Lake and

The Chicago Tribune released results of a study of traffic ticket data that shows whether police departments discriminate in favor of their own residents.

In the towns studied in McHenry County Crystal Lake and Harvard stood out as being even-handed.

Crystal Lake Police

Crystal Lake Police were pretty much as likely to give tickets to local residents as those living elsewhere.

Tickets Harvard less

The Harvard Police Department were slightly less likely to ticket out-of-towners than Harvard residents.

On the other end of the scale was Island Lake.

Its police officers were much more likely to ticket those from out of town that residents.

The other towns studied in McHenry County were somewhat more likely to give traffic tickets to people living outside their jurisdictions than to local folks follow in descending order.

Island Lake

Island Lake gave tickets to 128 people from out-of-town for every 100 tickets issued to local residents.

Fox River Grove

Fox River Grove gave tickets to 25% more people living elsewhere than in Fox River Grove.

Spring Grove, located on a key route to Wisconsin, arrest far more people from elsewhere than from Spring Grove.

Spring Grove, located on a key route to Wisconsin, arrest more people driving through than from Spring Grove.

Lakemoor

Lakemoor

Tickets Cary

Cary Police ticket more people driving through than residents.

Marengo

Marengo tickets more non-residents than residents.

Cary results.

Barrington Hills results show more tickets given to those driving through than to those living there.

Algonquin

Algonquin is another town that gives more tickets to those passing through than to natives.

Huntley is pretty close to parity.

Huntley is pretty close to parity.

Woodstock

Woodstock tickets about as many residents as outsiders.

McHenry

McHenry is pretty close to the break even point.

Wisconsin border towns Richmond and Hebron were not included in the study.

Neither was Bull Valley or Lakewood.


Comments

Traffic Ticket Discrimination Against Out-of-Towners Everywhere, But Crystal Lake and — 4 Comments

  1. Statistics are almost always deceitful.

    They are used to represent what the presenter wants.

    The analysis included by the Trib could be stated as:

    Out of town drivers greatly outnumber local resident drivers with the exception of Crystal Lake and Harvard (out of town drivers have little need to go there).

    If I went to a convention of transvestites and developed statistics on the percentage of people in the country who are transvestites, what kind of number do you think I would come up with?

    Just like the federal government reports unemployment numbers.

    If you are not actively looking for work (in their opinion), you are not counted as unemployed.

  2. Questioning, with all respect, I must disagree with your statement.

    You are absolutely correct that statistics are often abused to provide spurious support for a conclusion.

    But when used properly, they provide useful and often critical insights.

    How would we test drugs for efficacy and side effects without statistics?

    How would we know bridges were safe without statistics?

    That means it’s up to us to differentiate between good and bad statistics, not to write all statistics off.

    Having said that, like you, I question the utility of these particular statistics.

    First, the most important statistic would be the number of out-of-towners stopped and/or ticketed in relationship to their total number on the road, and this statistic is not given.

    For example, in Crystal Lake 60% of the stops were of outsiders (3,122 divided by the sum of 2,087 and 3,122).

    If outsiders represent 60% of the users of Crystal Lake’s roads then the percentage is reasonable.

    But if outsiders represent only 20% or 30% of users of the road, then we have reason to think there is bias.

    But, as I said, we haven’t been provided with the answer to this most fundamental question.

    Now, the ratio of tickets to outsiders stopped versus the percentage of tickets given to residents COULD BE a useful indicator — but IF AND ONLY IF there is a statistically significant difference between the two groups!

    Sadly, IDOT doesn’t give statistics on significance, so this ratio does NOT tell us if there is a real difference or just normal variation.

    And many municipalities are above 1.0 in one year and below 1.0 in another.

    So while the sample sizes are large, I would suggest that a ratio 1.05 or even 1.1 is probably only slightly indicative of bias, and hardly conclusive.

    More likely it’s within the range of normal variance.

  3. Um, Steve?

    To quote Mark Twain, “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

    Questioning is right on the money here. We know from scripture that drugs (pharmakia) are all bad.

    Efficacy is one of those ‘roads to Hell’ jargony good feelings quandaries.

    Your example on the safety of bridges using statistics is peculiarly gauche.

    I can’t even imagine where you are going with that.

  4. Steve, RE: “How would we test drugs for efficacy and side effects without statistics? How would we know bridges were safe without statistics?”

    Have you ever worked for a pharmaceutical company?

    There is a reason many lawyers have very expensive yachts at the expense of people’s lives.

    Remember the bridge in Minnesota?

    I agree statistics can be useful, but anymore, my experience is that they rarely meet your statement: “But when used properly, they provide useful and often critical insights.”

    The problem with statistics is the same as the problem with our country.

    As John Adams stated: ““Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

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