More than one-third of tickets given on Putnam Pike

More than one-third of tickets given on Putnam Pike

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series on tickets given out in Smithfield. Last week we reported on what the 1,742 tickets were for (registration violations led the way), and this week we’re reporting on the streets where the most tickets are handed out.

SMITHFIELD – It’s no secret that busy Route 44/Putnam Pike is known for having the biggest police presence in town, but the latest numbers from the Police Department show just how wide the margin is.

Smithfield police are watching and ticketing motorists on streets where violations and accidents most frequently occur, said Police Chief Richard St. Sauveur this week.

From January to mid-June, the Smithfield Police Department issued 1,742 citations, with the largest portion, a total of 684 tickets, or 39 percent, given on Putnam Pike.

St. Sauveur said the tickets are occurring on busy roadways such as Putnam Pike and Douglas Pike/Route 7 because that is where the most collisions and violations happen.

Collision and traffic data “shows those locations may need more detail. Therefore, we need to be there,” he said.

The top 10 streets for tickets in Smithfield, tallied from a 165-page report obtained by The Valley Breeze & Observer through a public records request from the SPD are:

• Putnam Pike, 684
• Douglas Pike, 381
• Pleasant View Avenue, 63
• Cedar Swamp Road, 44
• Greenville Avenue, 44
• George Washington Highway, 43
• Farnum Pike, 42
• Esmond Street, 38
• Smith Avenue, 38
• Sanderson Road, 27

Referring to the department’s 2017-2018 annual report, St. Sauveur said collision data correlates with the top-ticketed roads in Smithfield as well. According to the report, of 968 collisions in Smithfield last year, 44 percent occurred on Putnam Pike, 15 percent on Douglas Pike, 6 percent on Cedar Swamp and Sanderson Road, 3 percent on George Washington Highway, and 3 percent on Farnum Pike and Waterman Avenue.

Twenty-three percent of collisions occur on all other roads, according to the annual report.

“We’re going to where we know accident-causing violations are, and that’s where we need to be,” the chief emphasized.

St. Sauveur said the department often receives complaints about the area around the I-295 ramps on Douglas Pike. He said officers enforce speed limit laws on the street, as many people drive up to 60 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone.

With people driving on and off the highway, St. Sauveur said going over the speed limit is a repeated problem for the area.

“It’s a dangerous spot,” he said.

Other streets with a significant number of tickets issued over nearly six months include Waterman Avenue, 20; Whipple Road, 18; Limerock Road, 14; Fenwood Avenue, 13; Twin River Road, 12; Whitman Street, 12; Austin Avenue, 11; and Tunmore Road, 10.

St. Sauveur said issuing tickets prevents drivers from offending by creating a specific deterrent for the driver being stopped and receiving the ticket, and general deterrent for people witnessing the traffic stop.

In addition to focusing on areas of known violations and collisions, St. Sauveur said officers may use their own judgment on where to patrol on their beat based on their observations, though the SPD often assigns specific locations.

He said other times patrols are placed in locations due to community complaints. He said Sgt. Kevin Proulx works with community complaints and traffic tips to come up with a plan to help create a solution to the problem.

For non-emergency traffic complaints, contact Proulx at 401-231-2500, ext. 145. In emergency situations, call 911.