Milwaukee Police Department implements new Traffic Safety Unit to combat reckless driving

NOW: Milwaukee Police Department implements new Traffic Safety Unit to combat reckless driving

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Police Wednesday, March 3, announced the city of Milwaukee saw 51% more fatalities in 2020 due to reckless driving than in 2019.

You may recall a horrible crash in 2019 that killed a woman walking her dogs along Howell Avenue. Now, Bayview is one place police will be on the lookout for drivers driving erratically. 

A new Traffic Safety Unit is together now, and Milwaukee police hope efforts can prevent tragedies like this 2019 Christmas Eve hit-and-run that took the life of James Hanson.

"We're sick of it. This is not tolerated in this city," said Milwaukee Police Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman. 

Effective immediately, the Traffic Safety Unit will use tips and target areas where reckless driving tends to occur.

"If you ask anyone in this city, this is probably the number one thing that they're talking about," said 9th District Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.

Milwaukee saw 51 fatal crashes attributed to reckless driving in 2019. In 2020, that number skyrocketed to 77, which is a 51% increase.

"It makes me angry and I'm sure it makes tens of thousands of other Milwaukeeans angry as well, to see someone who operates a motor vehicle in such a dangerous fashion," said Mayor Tom Barrett.

It's particularly concerning when you think of the fact that 2020 had far less cars on the roads due to Covid-related shutdowns. 

Alderman Michael Murphy, of District 10, says police can't do it alone.

"I do not want to see everyone put in prison, but I do think when consequences are put in place resulting from the deaths of citizens of this city, that consequences and accountability have to play a role."

Lifelong Milwaukeean Earl Ingram was injured in a reckless driving crash last year.

"But I was fortunate. But there are many people who are not fortunate," he said.

The acting chief says if you see something, say something. 

Police have established a new website for tips -- That's short for Milwaukee Police Department Traffic Safety Unit. 

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