Traffic crashes, tickets, crime reduced in Tampa as residents stay home during COVID-19 pandemic

The novel coronavirus has had at least one positive effect in Florida: fewer accidents on the roadways.

Numbers from the Florida Highway Patrol show there were 3,177 crashes and 24 deaths in the Tampa Bay area in March 2019. 

In March 2020, there were nearly 1,000 fewer crashes and deaths were cut by more than half, with 2,186 crashes and 10 deaths. 

In Tampa, police have written 43% fewer tickets.

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"People are staying inside and the cops are doing their best to use their sense of discretion and not really engage with people unless we absolutely have to," said Tampa Police Department Chief Brian Dugan.

He added crime in Tampa is down, too. Burglaries in the city went from 89 last March to 53 this March.

Meanwhile, the difference in the number of crashes is being felt across urban and rural counties. In Sumter County, for instance, crashes are down 41%. In Pinellas County, there were 40% fewer crashes.

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Hernando and Hillsborough counties both saw a drop of 32%. 

The Florida Department of Transportation says on Good Friday alone, traffic was down 35% from the same time last year.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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