According to public records from nearly 50 St. Louis metropolitan municipal and county courts, the past two weeks have seen a roughly 50 percent reduction in the amount of traffic and criminal citations written throughout the St Louis metropolitan area.
Following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent protests, riots and looting; police have been on edge and very busy. Officers throughout the metro area have been called to Ferguson in order to assist with policing efforts.
Michael Carter, attorney and owner of Carter Law Offices based in St. Charles Missouri, said he had to cancel scheduled depositions during the Ferguson ongoings because officers were unable to pull off Ferguson duty.
"We had absolutely no problem rescheduling depositions for future dates given what these police officers were attending to; but, I do remember wondering just how many officers were being pulled out of their home jurisdictions. So, we gathered the only data we could -- the number of written citations," said Carter.
Speeding tickets were not the only citations that were down dramatically. Public records show fewer minor in possession tickets (MIP), DWIs, DUIs, assaults, driving while suspended, driving while revoked, and drug possession tickets.
Carter said that he'd "like to think that these types of crimes simply went down across the region. I guess it's possible that since most all of St. Louis has been riveted to their TVs, people just haven't been out and about causing trouble, but it's doubtful."
Carter's law firm has a criminal law subsidiary by the name of Traffic Law Counselors ran primarily through the websites 45BUCKS.com (indicating a starting price point for tickets) and DidYouBlow.com (referencing one aspect of a DWI arrest).
“Our traffic law subsidiary handles thousands of cases each year and on a typical weekday our phone rings about every three minutes for some type of traffic or criminal question or citation” Carter added. “But since the Ferguson unrest, we are only getting calls about every 10-15 minutes or so."
There has been much concern for the loss of business revenue closer to the Ferguson area. St. Louis County's government has just announced the allocation of millions of dollars to assist some struggling businesses near and in Ferguson. However, Carter says his firm is doing just fine despite the down tick in traffic tickets.
"By the way," says Carter, "It's commonly understood in criminal justice academic circles that it's good to have many policing jurisdictions throughout a metropolitan area because communities want to and should be familiar with their local law enforcement personnel. Being familiar with and knowing your local police officers is the starting point of gaining and maintaining confidence in law enforcement. "
Carter Law Offices is a real estate and criminal defense firm with locations in St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri. Contact Felicia Dixon 314-895-4040 Carterlegal.com