Tempe police are trying to reduce collisions by stepping up enforcement at the top 10 intersections for crashes.
Police will station officers at the intersections on four days, boosting visibility and looking for violations like speeding or running red lights. The city will have five extra officers on patrol from noon to 8 p.m., which is when most collisions occur, Lt. Steve Anderson said.
"This is above and beyond our normal patrols that we do every day," he said.
The campaign began Friday, Feb. 17 and continues on Monday, Feb. 20; Friday, Feb. 24; and Monday, Feb. 27. The extra patrols are funded through a grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, which is providing overtime for the officers.
The extra enforcement occurs throughout the year and is not a result of Tempe ending photo radar in July, Anderson said.
In fact, collisions have dropped slightly at the seven intersections where cameras were equipped to detect red-light and speed-on-green violations.
Collisions at those intersections fell from 101 to 93, when comparing July 18, 2011, to Jan. 18, 2012, to the same six-month period from a year earlier.
Crashes went up only at the Rural Road and University Drive intersection. Collisions stayed the same at one other and fell at the remaining five.
Tempe cancelled its photo radar contract with Redflex Traffic Systems after the vendor sued the city in a fee dispute. Redflex claimed Tempe should have paid an additional $1.3 million over the prior three years, which Tempe disputes. Already, Tempe was losing about $15,000 a year on photo radar after paying Redflex's fees and staffing costs.
Tempe has had photo radar since 1996, and Redflex's cameras had been in place since 2007. Collision statistics show the number of crashes near photo radar intersections had fallen the first three years of the contract, then leveled off.
The cameras were placed at intersections with a history of crashes.
For the current enforcement campaign, police will patrol the most problematic intersections in the past six months. They are:
• Southern Avenue and Rural Road
• Rural Road and University Drive
• 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle
• Broadway Road and Rural Road
• Baseline Road and Interstate 10
• Mill Avenue and Southern Avenue
• McClintock Drive and Baseline Road
• Broadway Road and McClintock Drive
• Priest Drive and Elliot Road
• Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive
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