Wellington residents value the safety of their neighborhood more than almost anything else, as evidenced by the recently completed budget challenge survey.
Parks are a great form of pride and the small neighborhood feel of the village can’t be overlooked, but for many, safety is paramount.
Along that vein, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is rolling out its plan for the next year that includes additional deputies, a focus on cutting down juvenile crime and an effort to reduce traffic crashes.
Last year, 20 percent of those arrested in the village were under 18. That was the highest number since 2011, with many being property crimes. Even five of the year’s 13 robberies had juvenile offenders or victims. That’s nearly 40 percent.
To combat the trend, PBSO will designate two deputies to a special unit designated to combat and stop juvenile crimes.
A second initiative will be addressing the biggest complaint of residents — traffic.
Some say objections aren’t rooted in reality because other towns have bigger traffic issues than Wellington. But the stats show that it’s becoming worse in Wellington with growth, especially on State Road 7.
About 25 percent of crashes in the village occurred on State Road 7, which has been a lighting rod for growth recently and is only getting bigger.
From 2011 to 2015, crashes on State Road 7 increased by more than 60 percent, while overall crashes just bumped up about 3 percent, according to PBSO data.
Traffic safety and pro-active enforcement will be a priority for law enforcement in Wellington.
The goal is to reduce crashes but about 7 percent, which would practically mean 148 fewer crashes than the past year. This will be done with a second goal of at least 10,000 traffic stops — so drive safely out there or you might get pulled over.