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How can Los Angeles curb its hit-and-run epidemic?
In 2012, the LA Weekly reported on an awfully high number of vehicular hit-and-run crashes in Los Angeles. The report said that the LAPD records about 20,000 hit-and-run incidents a year, 4,000 of which result in injury or death.
It also reported that 48 percent of all crashes in L.A. are hit-and-runs, compared with and 11 percent average across all U.S. cities. And despite those statistics, the report said, “There is no LAPD task force or organized city effort to address the problem.”
In response L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced a motion calling for the LAPD to start addressing the problem, and the department then released its own report to the Police Commission and the Public Safety Committee.
The report took issue with the 48 percent figure, saying that the number was reached by calculations using only "reported collisions" and not "all collisions," and claimed that city's hit-and-run rate is actually comparable to other major metropolitan areas.
On July 26th the Public Safety Committee met to discuss the issue, with city council members, LAPD representatives, and bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates on hand.
Despite some reported pushback from LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing, the participants seemed to agree that hit-and-runs have not been adequately addressed before, and that they are not properly punished or even prioritized by law enforcement.
Now that the issue has been officially brought to motion, what will be done to curb hit-and-runs? What can be done?
Joe Buscaino, LA City Councilman
Madeline Brozen, Program Director, UCLA Complete Streets Initiative