BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Buffalo Police Department has conducted 92 traffic safety checkpoints in the Lovejoy district so far in 2017, making it the city's most frequent location for checkpoints by a decent margin.
The statistics released Tuesday through Common Council President Darius Pridgen's office -- the most comprehensive to date for traffic checkpoints -- showed that police have conducted stops in every common council district in the city. After Lovejoy, the district with the most checkpoints were North (69), Masten (67) and Fillmore (66). The districts with the least were Ellicott (44), University (34) and Delaware (34).
Here's the latest data on Buffalo Police traffic checkpoints in 2017. The most checkpoints have occurred in the Loveyjoy district (92). The information released through the common council did not include data on race or ethnicity of drivers. (graphic made by @JTMessinger) @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/OIAZcaxhOv— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewakWGRZ) November 22, 2017
Councilman Rich Fontana, who represents the Lovejoy district, said he wasn't troubled by the fact police conducted the most checkpoints in his area. He said he has not received any complaints about the checkpoints, adding that he believes some block clubs actually encourage them as a way to deter crime.
Buffalo Police did not grant an on-camera interview, but a spokesperson said the checkpoint locations are based largely on the calls and complaints made to the city's 311 line. The spokesperson continues to emphasize that the checkpoints are both fair and important for public safety.
2 On Your Side has also fought for this data through Freedom of Information Law requests, and some community groups and activists have accused the department of disproportionately targeting minority neighborhoods with checkpoints. It's extremely difficult to draw conclusions from the raw numbers, however, particularly because they are sorted only by council district and do not offer a breakdown for race or ethnicity. The data also does not list specific neighborhoods or streets within the council districts.
According to expanded data spanning September and October, police issued more than 400 traffic summonses during these checkpoints, which can include violations for unlicensed vehicles, unregistered vehicles or a host of other equipment issues. Thirteen arrests were also made during these stops.
Pridgen said he doesn't have the law enforcement expertise to be able to make judgments based on the data.
"But it shows that these are being conducted all over," Pridgen said. "According to the police commissioner today -- some information was shared with me -- that they are looking for new way to do these checkpoints."
Pridgen said he'd like to see this data posted on the city's website.
"This is what we asked for. We believe the public deserves to see this," Pridgen said.