If you’ve noticed more police cars out on the highways these days, ticketing drivers for speeding, it’s no coincidence. It’s the aching economy.

Tiny towns — suffering from the pangs of unemployment, stock plunges and the credit crunch — are reaching out to a new source of income: You.

It doesn’t matter whether you live in some of these communities or not. If an Arlington Heights or Addyston or Elmwood Place wants your money, they’ll grab you off the interstate and cherry pick the bucks directly out of your wallet.

These three cities happen to lead the list of Tristate neighborhoods that consistently hand out the most speeding tickets. And statistics show that if some of these towns were outright speed traps in the past, things are getting much, much worse thanks to our aching economy.

Elmwood Place jumped 27 percent from the previous year’s average in terms of ticketing, Woodlawn has practically doubled, and Reading, Evendale, Springdale, Milford, they’re all up, too. Read the chart and map on this page, and you’ll see an unsettling trend. Small governments are increasing their efforts to cash in on unsuspecting commuters.

It’s an unofficial highway tax, the equivalent of setting up toll booths on the interstates without asking anybody’s permission to do so. Miniscule governmental entities, particularly those located along the exit ramps of I-75, I-71 and I-275, are supplementing their stretched town budgets on the backs of Tristate drivers. Slap down a fine and support the village payroll. Hey, it’s a win-win situation for everybody — the mayors, local sheriffs, tax collectors, well, a win-win for everybody BUT you. Call it radar (gun) love.

This trend isn’t about catching law-breakers. It’s about cop cars laying in wait, hoping to pull over the hapless driver who might be cruising a couple of miles over the posted — or frequently NOT posted — speed limit. And if you’re not technically speeding, well, who’s to argue with the man in blue?

The fact of the matter is, nabbing shoplifters or hauling in hobos doesn’t generate revenue for tiny government coffers. This unofficial “road tax” is guaranteed cash.

If all this isn’t enough to turn your stomach, then by all means, continue cruising through Arlington Heights and the other towns. The mayors and the village councils thank you for your fine support.

Otherwise, here’s what to do: Go particularly easy on the gas pedal when driving the sections of interstates that are illustrated here. And, more importantly, clip out this page to store in your glove compartment. Then take this road map to court when you appeal your ticket from any of these top-offending municipalities.


No. 1 — Arlington Heights: 374.2

No. 2 — Addyston: 120.3

No. 3 — Elmwood Place: 104.7

No. 4 — * Newtonsville: 92.3

No. 5 — Woodlawn: 92.2

No. 6 — Fairfax: 74.6

No. 7 — Reading: 74.5

No. 8 — Owensville: 59.6

No. 9 — Evendale: 53.0

No. 10 — Newtown: 48.5

No. 11 — * Lockland: 48.3

No. 12 — Springdale: 42.6

No. 13 — Cleves: 36.5

No. 14 — Glendale: 36.4

No. 15 — Harveysburg: 34.6 No. 16 — Mariemont: 34.6

No. 17 — Golf Manor: 34.0

No. 18 — Amelia: 31.3

No. 19 — Milford: 30.7

No. 20 — Maineville: 29.8

No. 21 — Sharonville: 29.0

No. 22 — Greenhills: 28.2

No. 23 — Mt. Healthy: 25.1

No. 24 — Silverton: 25.0 No. 25 — New Richmond: 24.2 Statewide Average: 22.4

* Submitted incomplete reports for the most recent year; previous year’s data used.