3/14/2005Big Ticket Revenue for Small Delaware Towns
Two small towns write one out of every eight speeding tickets in Delaware.
Two towns in Delaware account for just 0.5 percent of the state's population, yet they issued 109,300 of the 877,200 speeding tickets issued statewide over ten years. The Delaware News Journal reviewed a database of all tickets in the state and found that the city of Harrington (population: 3200) and Greenwood (population: 800) issue the greatest number of tickets -- handing out ninety percent of them to out-of-state residents.
It also found that statewide, black drivers received 19 percent of tickets -- matching the state's 19 percent black population. Yet in Harrington, 30 percent of ticket recipients were black. Surrounding states vary from 10 percent in Pennsylvania to 28 percent in Maryland. Tickets account for 82 percent of the Greenwood police budget, well beyond what is considered acceptable. Only 4 percent of Newark, Delaware's police budget comes from tickets, for example.
The purpose of this heavy enforcement is not clear. In Harrington, the tickets come from U.S. 13 -- even though almost all of the residents live west of the street. The street itself does not have an accident problem. In 2002, a minutes from a budget meeting showed the police were pressured to cover a $200,000 shortfall in ticket revenue.
Statewide ticket revenue over 10 years totaled $50.5 million.
[Greenwood resident] Wanda Webb said all the money should not go to the police officers and their equipment. "I've never seen a benefit. Taxes have never gone down," Webb said.Source: Speeders, these towns will catch you (Delaware News Journal, 2/27/2005)
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