My story about Escondido’s shifting political makeup noted that the turnover of a single seat on the City Council put a stop to the council’s discussion of illegal immigration measures, which had gained the city local and national notoriety.

But the story also noted that although the City Council hasn’t taken up immigration in the last seven months, one of the city’s controversial policies continues. Police Department traffic checkpoints target unlicensed and drunk drivers — and their critics say they disproportionately target Latinos. The police chief said that’s not the case.

The North County Times recently ran a story that looked more closely at the driver’s license and drunk driving checkpoints, analyzing where they’ve been held over the last two years.

Among the findings:

Of the 39 driver’s license checkpoints conducted by the Police Department from 2006 to 2008, 16 were in the city’s predominantly Latino neighborhoods — areas where Latinos make up more than 50 percent of the population.

In the same time frame, more than half, 19, of the department’s 31 drunken driving checkpoints were conducted in Latino neighborhoods.

That means that half of all checkpoints happened in Latino areas, which make up only about five square miles of the city’s 36 square miles.

The paper also found, though, that the single most frequently used site for the license checkpoints was not considered a predominantly Latino neighborhood.

The most often used location, 11 times, was Bear Valley Parkway near Kit Carson Park and the Westfield North County mall, which is not considered a predominantly Latino area of the city. It is one of the main access roads into the city from Interstate 15.


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