Police-involved car chases occur almost daily in Los Angeles. The latest available statistics on these events will help you understand their impacts and risks to motorists, officers, and innocent bystanders. As a follow-up to our article covering liability in a Los Angeles car chase, here’s a look at the numbers, trends, and possible solutions to the problem.
In April 2023, the LAPD released its Pursuit Injuries Report. At the time, seven people had been injured, and three died during police pursuits this year (but over 1,000 crashes in the last five years injured or killed an innocent bystander).¹ Between 2018 and April 2023, 4,203 police chases were reported, according to the Los Angeles Times.² The report also cited the following statistics:
- About one-quarter (1,032) of pursuits involved a collision leading to an injury or death.²
- Close to half of injury crashes hurt someone not involved in the chase.²
- During the reporting period, 496 uninvolved people were injured and nine were killed. By comparison, 462 fleeing suspects were injured and five were killed.²
- In total, 60 police officers were injured during Los Angeles car chases.²
- Over three-quarters of collisions occurred within the first five minutes of a chase.²
- On average, pursuits averaged a speed of 46 mph.²
- 64% of collisions took place at speeds of 41 to 80 mph.²
Are Los Angeles Car Chases On the Rise?
In 2022, there were 971 pursuits and 348 of them resulted in a crash, as reported by ABC 7 News.⁴ These numbers represented a decline from 990 pursuits and 366 collisions in 2021. However, in 2018, there were just 665 pursuits and 280 collisions, and another decline in 2019 when just 651 pursuits and 260 collisions were reported.⁴ As you can see, the long-term trend shows the number of car chases is increasing.
The number of bystanders hurt in pursuits is also high. From 2006 to 2014, according to the LAPD, 334 bystanders were hurt due to police car chases. An analysis of California Highway Patrol data by the Los Angeles Times found that 1 in 10 pursuits caused an injury to someone not involved in the pursuit.²
Can Police Pursuits Be Prevented?
Los Angeles isn’t the only city where car chases are a problem. Police pursuits have jumped dramatically in New York City, but have been abandoned in places like Philadelphia, Dallas, and Phoenix when the suspect has committed a misdemeanor. In Los Angeles, the number of pursuits to be found out-of-policy or that resulted in administrative disapproval against involved officers has risen in recent years. Pending new legislation, the LAPD is training officers to evaluate their surroundings and consider weather conditions and suspects’ speed before initiating or deciding to continue a pursuit.
The department is also considering ways to prevent chases or limit the number of police cars involved in pursuits. They include:
- Deploy a heavy-duty nylon rope to slow a vehicle down by entangling its axle.
- Launch an adhesive GPS device at a fleeing vehicle to track its movements and location.
- Use cameras, drones, and other surveillance equipment to track suspects.
- Change policy to enable officers to broadcast their speed and live stream pursuits to incident commanders.
As for the debate about whether to ban police chases, department officials have argued that while vehicle thefts are considered nonviolent crimes, stolen vehicles are often involved in hit-and-runs. They can also be used to commit other crimes. Police pursuits are often initiated in response to vehicle theft and crimes such as murder, carjacking, reckless driving, or driving under the influence.
Injured in a Los Angeles Car Chase? Call Jacob Today
Every driver owes a duty of care to motorists and pedestrians. But suspects aren’t the only ones who can be liable in a Los Angeles car chase. Depending on the circumstances, police officers, police departments, or government agencies can be held responsible. The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani has represented numerous car chase accident clients. We fight for your rights and negotiate a fair settlement if you’ve been injured due to a pursuit. To receive your free consultation, call (888) 952-2952 now.