Capt. Mark Tavarez of Las Vegas Metro's Traffic Bureau said at an early afternoon news conference that beginning March 3, patrol officers would stop responding to property-only accidents within Metro's jurisdiction, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

The move, Metro estimates, will free up 250 hours a week for officers to perform other duties, such as traffic-law enforcement to help reduce traffic fatalities. In 2013, Metro responded to 113 fatalities, five more than in 2012.

With 30 fewer traffic officers than there were 18 months ago, Tavarez said, minor collisions took up too much of an officer's time that could be focused on preventing deadly accidents.

"We've been trying to find a way to deploy our officers successfully so we can handle fatalities and handle property damage crashes," Tavarez said. "But now comes a time we have to prioritize, and I think everybody can agree that fatalities are more important than a property crash."

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