Politics

Los Angeles considers alert system for hit-and-run crashes

Los Angeles city officials are considering a new communications system that would alert Angelenos to hit-and-run drivers in their area.
Los Angeles city officials are considering a new communications system that would alert Angelenos to hit-and-run drivers in their area.
Courtesy NBCLosAngeles.com

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The Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee is expected to vote Friday on whether to create an alert system to help police track down some of the 20,000 drivers who leave the scene of a crash every year.

It's a key vote for the "Medina Alert," which would notify Angelenos of hit-and-run drivers in the area. The notifications would likely be sent out on the Los Angeles Police Department's social media accounts and opt-in email alerts, said Councilman Mitch Englander, who chairs the committee.

"It's about trying to get as many eyes and ears out there in the community," Englander said. 

The Los Angeles Police Department is expected to give a presentation on the alert system at Friday's committee meeting. The notifications would likely be limited to the LAPD division where the crash occurred. 

“There is a fine line between information overload and sharing information, so sending things out citywide from a local incident wouldn’t necessarily make sense," Englander said.

Englander said notifications would likely be sent based on the severity of a crash and how much information is available, such as the make and model of a car or the lettering of a license plate. 

In 2012, hit-and-runs within the city of Los Angeles resulted in 27 deaths and 4,789 injuries, according to data provided by the California Highway Patrol. However, those figures may not provide a complete picture. CHP data estimated there were 14,132 hit-and-run crashes that year, while LAPD puts the figure closer to 20,000 a year.

The notification system is expected to be approved alongside a standing $50,000 reward for information in hit-and-run crashes. 

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