WASHINGTON — The number of traffic tickets written in September by Washington police officers was 102 percent higher than September 2017.

Officers issued 76 tickets last year and 154 tickets this year.

There was a reason for the 78-ticket increase.

"We wrote 63 tickets during our two-week zero-tolerance period for people driving and using hand-held devices," said Police Chief Mike McCoy to City Council members Monday during the council's monthly committee of the whole meeting.

The ticket comparison was part of a police activity report McCoy provides each month.

With three months to go in 2018, a few categories have seen substantial increases.

Calls are up nearly 5.6 percent, from 10,294 to 10,870.

Part I offenses such as criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, burglary and theft are up 32 percent from 256 to 338. Part II offenses, such as damage to property, thefts less than $500 and disorderly conduct, are up 31 percent from 998 to 1,311.

Written warnings are up nearly 23 percent from 1,982 to 2,432, and officer-initiated activities like checking on a suspicious person or vehicle are up 5.6 percent from 10,294 to 10,870.

Traffic tickets are down 4.4 percent from 1,006 to 962 despite the jump in September because of the zero-tolerance period for hand-held devices.

McCoy didn't have the report in front of him, but he said the 2017 crime statistics report released Monday by the FBI showed Washington on the low end of 83 Illinois communities between 10,00 and 20,000 population.

Washington had nine reports of violent crime and 157 reports of property damage crime last year, according to the FBI.

"For a middle America community of our size, we're doing well," McCoy said.

Horses

Also Monday, council members heard about a resident's request for a variance and special-use permit to have horses on his 3.09-acre residential property on Edgewood Court. The city's zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 5 acres to have horses on land zoned residential. The city's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-2 last week to recommend denial of the variance. Council will hold a first reading of the variance request next week and vote on it on Nov. 5.

Water and sewer rates

Representatives from the Raftelis consulting firm also presented the preliminary findings of a study of Washington's water and sewer rates, and how much additional revenue the city needs to collect for short-term and long-term water and sewer infrastructure improvements.

"This report is an eye-opener," said Alderman Mike Brownfield. "We've had it good for years. We need to do something, or 10 to 15 years from now, future councils will need to make some serious decisions."

 

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.