Coroner Hoffman Publishes a Statement to the Effect That Jail Sentences Should Succeed Fines.
Shaffer Agrees With Him
"The jail sentence for speeders must be substituted for fines, or else the fearful slaughter of our people will go on," said Peter Hoffman, coroner of Cook county, Wednesday in a signed report telling of the increase of homicides in the county.
Thursday Chief of Police Shaffer, when shown the report of the coroner by a representative of this newspaper, said that he thoroughly agreed with Mr. Hoffman.
"Fines do not do one whit of good," said the chief. "We have been waging war against the speeders all summer, still we arrested more yesterday than we did earlier in the spring when we first started after them. The officers arrested six for speeding yesterday, which is more than we caught altogether during the first two weeks the motorcycle officer was pursuing them.
Make a Howl
"When they are arrested they make a big howl. Then they pay their fine, which does not hurt them in the least. Within a few days thereafter they are traveling just as fast as before. I do not mean by this that all automobile owners like to speed and break the law. There are a great many careful drivers who own their own cars and there are many other owners who employ chauffeurs and who will not allow them to exceed the speed limit and who would discharge them if they were caught speeding.
"But there are so many of the others, who like to feel the breeze slap them in the face as they speed through the streets. These are the men I refer to. They have have money and a fine does not bother them in the least. Until the jail sentence is substituted for fines these men will continue to break the law and pedestrians will be in daily danger of injury."
Big Increase in Deaths.
The coroner's report points out that there were 18,769 deaths in the past four years cared for by his office, and of these 7,380 were due to natural causes, 4,138 were accidental, 2,023 were suicides, 772 were homicides and 4,456 due to various other causes. Regarding the increase in number of homicides the coroner says: "The following comparison shows that this form of death can be controlled: Last year 221 homicides occurred in my jurisdiction, while in London, with a population three times as great, there were but thirty-three.
Concerning the "speed mania" of automobile drivers, rendering the "ways of traffic more perilous than a battlefield," the coroner says:
"The statistics show that the danger to life and limb is much greater, nearly all of which arises out of the desire to ride at a speed beyond all reason. In Chicago, with its immense population, with its congested thoroughfares, the speed maniac has more liberties and is allowed to practice his wild rides with more daring than he would in a country village.
"It is the opinion of this office that this cause of death can be blotted out only when the European regulations are adopted here, namely that the rich man cannot avoid his guilt by the payment of a fine that is no burden to him. We must adopt the jail sentence for all alike, or let the slaughter of our people go on."
His statistics showed that from sixteen deaths in 1907 the total number of automobile fatalities has increased in four years to seventy-five. The number indicates hat three out of every 100,000 persons in Cook county are killed each year by automobiles.