Data Shows Nearly Half of Crashes Lead to Civilian Injuries or Deaths
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) pursuits in the past five years have led to a concerning number of civilian injuries, as indicated by the Pursuit Injuries Report released by The Los Angeles Police Department, as reported by CBS News. The study, covering data from 2018, reveals that almost half of the pursuits ending in crashes during this period resulted in civilian injuries or fatalities.
During those five years, LAPD officers initiated 4,203 pursuits; during those pursuits, there were 1,032 collisions that led to injury or death. The breakdown of these collisions includes injuries to 496 uninvolved individuals, fatalities of 9 uninvolved individuals, injuries to 462 suspects, and fatalities of 5 suspects. The report also notes that 60 LAPD officers were injured during pursuits, but there were no LAPD fatalities.
In fact, there was a pursuit today in the city of Carson, where a carjacking suspect who was being pursued hit a female pedestrian who was crossing the street. The woman survived, although she was struck violently.
It wasn’t the only police pursuit today, either. An earlier CHP pursuit that was chasing a vandalism suspect ended with a head-on collision with an uninvolved motorist. Of course, that is a different police agency, but still it shows that pursuits are resulting in crashes.
The annual data on pursuits initiated by officers has shown a consistent increase, except in 2019 and 2022. In 2018, there were 665 pursuits, followed by 651 in 2019, a notable increase to 869 in 2020 and subsequent rises to 990 in 2021 and 971 in 2022. Deputy Chief Donald Graham, from LAPD’s Transit Services Bureau, was quoted by CBS News, and he cited grand theft auto, driving under the influence, and reckless driving as the top three reasons for initiating pursuits. He highlighted the growing incidents of vehicle theft in recent years as a contributing factor.
As of 2023, the report reveals seven injuries and three deaths resulting from pursuit crashes.
During a recent Police Commission meeting, President William Briggs expressed concerns about pursuing suspects, as quoted by CBS News, suggesting it may not be the best course of action in certain circumstances unless the suspect is wanted for serious crimes like bank robbery or assault with a deadly weapon. Additional data from the report indicates that:
- Officers’ average speed during pursuits was 46 miles per hour.
- The average duration of pursuits was approximately 5.34 minutes.
- 72% of pursuits lasted less than five minutes.
- 76% of pursuits resulting in collision were less than five minutes.
- The average distance covered in pursuits was about 4.71 miles.
- 54% of pursuits resulting in collision covered less than two miles.
Craig Valenzuela of the LAPD’s Traffic Group also highlighted that more than 80% of pursuits with severe outcomes, such as severe injury or death, lasted less than three minutes.