Twelve people were serious injured when a car ran a stop sign and collided with a city bus during a police chase in Brooklyn, CBS New York reported recently. About 29 others suffered minor injuries.
Police were pursuing the car after noticing the driver had a gun, officers said.
High-speed police chases cause 360 deaths a year, according to a report in 2010 by USA Today. Approximately one-third of those killed are innocent bystanders. But the numbers do not include people killed after police stop chasing suspects. As criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert told USA Today, the fatality rate is “three or four times higher.”
About 35 to 40 percent of police chases end in crashes, Alpert said.
Just this summer, a chase in upper Manhattan resulted in the death of a 4-year-old girl walking to school with her grandmother. And in 2010, a police chase in Harlem resulted in the death of an 83-year-old nun.
The issue has led to calls for restricting high-speed chases to cases involving violent crimes. According to the New York Times, the New York Police Department instructs its police to “weigh the safety risks in maintaining the pursuit versus the danger in allowing the suspect to get away” before they take pursuit.
In Milwaukee, a police chase that caused four deaths led to more restrictive policies on police chases, USA Today reported. The president of the Milwaukee Police Association said the new rules demoralized officers, making them feel “minimized as professionals.” But civilian safety should be paramount, as the newspaper pointed out, a “victim can’t be replaced.”