Rock Hill Police and South Carolina law enforcement authorities are expanding an officer patrol program into the city’s southern area to try to cut down on car accidents, traffic law violations and violent crime.
The police department announced the plan on Friday morning alongside troopers with the S.C. Highway Patrol and the State Transport Police. The patrol saturation program is called DDACTS, which stands for “Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety.”
The partnership between troopers and local law enforcement in Rock Hill is one of five of its kind across South Carolina. York County’s highway interdiction team is also part of the DDACTS program.
DDACTS started in Rock Hill in January 2013. The increased patrol initiative first covered parts of northern Rock Hill, specifically Cherry, Riverview, Celanese and Anderson roads near Interstate 77.
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Officers will maintain the stepped up police coverage in those areas, said Rock Hill Police Capt. Rod Stinson. The expansion, he said, will complement the existing DDACTS coverage.
Authorities plan to now include parts of southern Rock Hill such as East Main Street from Cowan Road to East Black Street and Saluda Street from Albright Road to Main Street. The DDACTS expansion also covers Albright Road from East Black Street to Saluda Street.
The expansion is warranted, Stinson said, because DDACTS’ partners have seen positive results from the first phase of the program. He expects the second phase to start on Monday.
In stepping up patrol and police presence, officers target motorists who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who are speeding, or drivers or passengers violating the state’s seat belt laws. The program also seeks to cut down on violent crimes and property crimes such as home break-ins, vehicle theft and shoplifting.
DDACTS puts patrol cars in targeted areas at various times of the day throughout the week, Stinson said.
The police department wants residents to know when DDACTS is in force, said Rock Hill Police Chief Chris Watts. The program will be recognizable when drivers see more officers on the road in specific areas.
Running DDACTS may not necessarily result in more tickets or arrests, Stinson said. The purpose is two-fold: “education and enforcement.”
Just the higher visibility of officers on patrol will likely reduce crime and traffic accidents, said Highway Patrol Captain Bobby Albert, commander of Troop 4, the patrol district that includes York, Chester, Lancaster and four other counties.
Authorities say they use crime data to analyze the areas of Rock Hill most prone to traffic accidents, particularly fatal car wrecks, and violent crimes. Police establish a DDACTS zone in an area where there are a high number of both traffic collisions and crime incidents.
In York County so far this year, 15 people have died in vehicle accidents. Across the state so far in 2014, there have been 439 road fatalities – slightly fewer than last year, when the Highway Patrol recorded 456 fatalities during the same period.
“The only acceptable number of traffic deaths in our state is zero,” Albert said. Recently, South Carolina officials rolled out a campaign called “Target Zero,” which aims to raise awareness about traffic safety and the dangers of reckless or impaired driving.
The Highway Patrol and others are using a social media strategy to push “Target Zero” by encouraging residents and businesses to use #TargetZeroSC when posting information about initiatives to improve road safety.
On Friday, Albert also asked drivers to dial *HP or *47 when in South Carolina to report dangerous driving.