It is crazy how easily these things can get messed up. I just recently saw a hit and run in Calgary myself. http://www.wedefend.ca/en/our_services.html
By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
When Alex Thompson, bicycling advocate and founder of BikesideLA.org, read LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's response last week to a citywide hit-and-run epidemic that LAPD had never acknowledged, Thompson was stunned to find what he saw as pages of spin.
"The whole report is framed defensively," Thompson says, "and that undermines the integrity of the report from the outset. They're more interested in proving the L.A. Weekly wrong."
In January, following the Weekly's cover story revealing that Los Angeles is mired in a long-running hit-and-run crisis, with drivers fleeing 48 percent of all crashes in 2009, City Hall asked Beck to report on how his department planned to address the crime wave. Nationally, just 11 percent of crashes are hit-and-runs.
L.A. suffers a staggering 20,000 hit-and-runs annually. Of those, hit-and-run drivers kill or badly maim about 22 bicyclists, 40 motorists and 92 pedestrians each year. According to LAPD's own data, buried in a vague graph on page 8 of Beck's new report, another 324 bicyclists, 1,004 pedestrians and 2,293 motorists are injured less severely each year.
The Dec. 6 Weekly article, "L.A.'s Bloody Hit-and-Run Epidemic," found that unless a victim died, LAPD's investigations too often were marked by evidence-gathering lapses and disinterest. Some fed-up victims — such as noted bicyclist Don Ward, run to the ground by a Jaguar near Griffith Park — conduct their own investigations.
Yet Beck and his predecessor, William Bratton, have failed to seriously track hit-and-run data — as they do, meticulously, with other crime. Beck, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council appeared to have no idea this epidemic existed.
Beck's report spends most of its 16 pages refocusing critics away from L.A.'s failures and toward the hit-and-run situations in Chicago, Houston and New York. Critics now are questioning the report's unorthodox methodology, squishy findings and generic recommendations.
Critics and statistical experts point to obvious manipulation of the data by LAPD. The report introduces five cities — Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Chicago. Beck's team argues that, viewed through various lenses, New York, Chicago or Houston have worse hit-and-run situations than L.A.
Lieutenant Andy Neiman, LAPD's media relations head, says Beck decided to compare L.A. with those cities because the national hit-and-run rate — 11 percent of all crashes — was misleading and unfair. LAPD doesn't take reports for accidents if there's no injury, the crash isn't a crime, and no city property is damaged. Some cities take reports on every crash, which creates a larger accident figure and lowers their rate of hit-and-runs.
Neiman also said this week that L.A.'s hit-and-run rate should be compared with New York's, Chicago's and Houston's because "we always compare ourselves" to the other three biggest U.S. cities. He said far smaller Seattle and San Francisco were added based on unspecified "demographics."
Beck claims that, in order to "achieve a fair comparison" of L.A.'s 48 percent hit-and-run rate, the annual "vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) by motorists in sprawling L.A. must be compared with the annual VMT in the five other cities. LAPD, in its report, applies its VMT formula, then determines the hit-and-run injury and death rates in the five chosen cities. Doing this, L.A. looks better than New York, Chicago and Houston.
The city-versus-city contest baffles hit-and-run researchers.
Solnick is openly dismissive, saying that the distance people drive — useful in understanding such things as traffic congestion — is "not a meaningful statistic" to explain why, or how often, drivers flee a crash scene. "It's like saying we had more hit-and-runs on a Wednesday — that doesn't matter."
Drunk drivers flee the scene. People driving a car without a license flee the scene.
Richard Tay, a leading expert on hit-and-runs and chairman of Road Safety Management at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, says his general impression is that LAPD's "main purpose seems to be to defend L.A.'s record — relative to a few selected cities."
Both Tay and Solnick said the hit-and-run rate is achieved by dividing total reported hit-and-runs by total reported collisions, as the Weekly did in determining a 48 percent rate for 2009. LAPD released new data this week showing 45,212 vehicle collisions in 2012, including 20,177 hit-and-runs. That's a rate of 44 percent. But Beck's report shows the figure as 38 percent, achieved in part by adding in CHP data on freeway crashes, from which motorists rarely flee.
Ward, a bicyclist with the Midnight Ridazz club, immediately tracked down the Jaguar that struck him — after he handed LAPD nearly the entire license plate number and was informed LAPD wouldn't run the plate for about two weeks. Ward and other critics note that there's no "raw data in this report." Ward, who served on LAPD's Bike Task Force, says, "I only see what they want to give me. [But] their interpretation means nothing to me."
Last week, five political appointees to the L.A. Police Commission, led by president Andrea Sheridan Ordin, a former federal prosecutor, asked few questions about Beck's study. Commissioner Robert Saltzman, a USC law professor, wondered if better technology for reporting hit-and-runs could help, while commissioner Richard Drooyan, a defense lawyer for white-collar criminals, asked about stronger punishments.
It is crazy how easily these things can get messed up. I just recently saw a hit and run in Calgary myself. http://www.wedefend.ca/en/our_services.html
MASS MURDERERS TAKE NOTE: The BEST way to kill lots of people and get away with it is not with a gun, a knife or even a bomb...it's mowing people down with your car in a hit & run! The police will NEVER catch you! And even if they did, the worst you'll get is a slap on the wrist!
Mexican police arrest both parties in any traffic accident, seriously injured or not, hold them (for ransom basically) until guilt can be established. Therefore since the majority of drivers in LA are either mexican, unlicensed or usually both, the answer to the hit and run epidemic is plain to see but political suicide to publicly acknowledge. Bienvenidos a Razifornia. Holding Beck responsible IS acceptable due to his enabling of unlicensed, uninsured drivers in Sanctuary landia.
In Mexico almost every accident is hit and run or the driver just runs away afterwards, it is a tradition that is being transplanted here. And for people here illegally, who wants to get deported or in trouble because they (can't so) don't have a license and (can't so) don't have insurance? There is also the fact that fleeing the scene while intoxicated to possibly be arrested later while sober is a better rap than drunk driving.
That is the cause, what is the solution? I like pay at the pump for all cars to have basic liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Make private auto insurance supplemental to that, for more liability, collision and comprehensive.
But you know, if we gave the illegal aliens driver licenses, they'd all purchase insurance and abide by laws....riiiiiight!
Who believes Charlie Beck after he lied to us about the City's finances when he was pimping for Proposition A, the permanent half cent increase in our sales tax.
For many years, the LAPD has been overwhelmed by the number of hit and run accidents. They have been reduced to taking "insurance reports". Many reports are taken telephonically , because the LAPD does not have the time to come to the accident scene. If there are no injuries, the victim is advised to let their insurance company handle the case. If the victim obtains a license number, a letter is sent out to the registered owner. Not very many owners go to the station and admit to a hit and run. If the R/O does not respond, there is no follow-up. Officers do not go to their house looking for them.
If the victim cannot identify the driver, then there is no prosecution. Look around at all the cars with illegal tint on the windows. If they ran into you, would you be able to identify the driver.
In defense of the LAPD, the percentage of H & R accidents is high in relation to "reportable" accidents. If there are no injuries, DUI, H & R, or other crime involved, then the drivers are told to exchange information and turn it over to their insurance company. Therefore, there is no accident report.
Hit-And-Run is a crime in both LAPD and CHP jurisdictions. The atmosphere of permissiveness that the LAPD fosters ATTRACTS the vehicular criminals... period!
The authors comment about hit-and-runs being rare in CHP jurisdiction is absolutely true, and the LAPD Chief is committing fraud by including CHP data in an attempt to water down the failures of his department.
How do I know the CHP ratios are true? Last month, another motorist on the I-10 decided to take his anger out on my left rear fender and flee (no injuries). The CHP took my report (I got his license number), pulled a photo lineup on their laptop, and I id'd the other driver. Within 4 hours, I received a call from the investigating officer who was AT THE HOME of the other driver, and he informed me that they would be pressing criminal charges. Within three days, the case was already turned over to the DA and I was given a case number for the CRIMINAL case against the other driver.
This is exactly how to inhibit vehicular crime, and how justice must be pursued by those who consume our taxpayer dollars.
And as an extremely active LA cyclist, I would love it if I could ride exclusively within CHP jurisdiction, but alas, we're not allowed on the freeway, Sooo... Chief Beck, rather than trying to make the CHP's success your own, why aren't you looking to the CHP as a model example of the rigidity REQUIRED to do your job?
I could not find a link to the report, but I did find it on-line. When discussing any public report, the media should include a LINK to the report so that people may read it for themselves. This article contains a link to the entgire report. http://bit.ly/122KSUd I could not find a direct link.
This report does a disservice to the LAPD. I had expected a much more honest report, but then perhaps I have been fortunate enough to work with more professional members of the LAPD than the Chief Beck. I make this negative remark against Chief Beck due to the substandard quality of this report. The Chief should have rejected it.
LA Weekly raised a serious public issue about the rate of Hit and Run Accidents, but the LAPD ignored the real issue and devoted its time and resources to nonsense. The purpose of the report is not to quibble over the selection of data or which city to compare and how to compare it. Los Angeles has a large number of Hit and Run's and the goal was to analyze the LAPD with respect to Hit and Run's. This report is a miserable failure.
There are two people standing off stage who bear major responsibility for this unacceptable report: (1) Tony Villaraigosa and (2) Eric Garcetti. These two individuals also brought us the fraudulent 1-12-2011 LAFD Deployment Report wherein the LAFD lied about having great response times so that Garcetti could slash the LAFD budget by $200 Million. People needlessly died as a result of that fraudulent report, but as has been pointed out, Garcetti continues to lavish gifts upon his political cronies while Angelenos die due to slower paramedic response times.
Beck's disgraceful report has the same earmarks of fraud and cover-up as the 1-12-2011 LAFD Deployment Report. It should the same extreme lack of professionalism that we see in most the EIR's for Garcetti's projects and for the Hollywood Community Plan.
The LAPD is seriously underfunded. In order to tangle the Hit and Run problem will cost more money and Garcetti wants to use tax dollars to help his developer buddies like Casden, Aarons, Caruso, and CIM Group and he does not want to waste a cent on public services.
Once again, Angelenos need to become more sophisticated and learn about Accounting Control Fraud. Accounting Control Fraud, typified by ENRON's accounting which reported fictitious profits and concealed actual debts, occurs when those in control use fraud to issue misleading accounting. The 1-12-2011 LAFD Report was Accounting Control Fraud. It said that the City was doing so well that it could afford to curt the LAFD budget and give the money to friends of Garcetti. This June 7, 2013 LAPD Hit and Run Report likewise presents a false accounting about how well the LAPD is performing so that there will be no demand to increase the LAPD budget so that it can make the streets safer of Angelenos.
How is it this man, the Chief of Police's problem that a biker gets ran over by an unsavory immoral person who flees the scene. Sounds like Los Angeles has a MORAL problem, which no single man can fix. And what the heck is wrong with the author of this article searching for any branch of government to fix a problem, that is rooted in a person making an ethical decision to stop or rather be unsavory and flee. Sounds like Los Angelinos are heathens by their very nature....gee ! Anybody remember a Laker Victory where property was destroyed downtown. Anybody remember some poor fireman/paramedic being beat to an inch of his life at Dodger stadium. Wake up and smell the reality. Los Angeles is home to very unsavory criminals and thugs who run over bikers and flee. That is the truth. Unless you can change their moral value system, its never going to change.
Can we just be correct and not be politically correct? Illegal aliens are the ones doing the Hit and Run's in this city. They have no license, no insurance and the care isn't registered to anyone real. And congress wants to give them a pathway to citizenship? Not i my lifetime!
Nice try, however can you show me where your majority of drivers are Mexican?
@JackHumphreville its the illegal aliens and drunkards. no insurance no license. dont blame the cops. society does not want to here the truth because that would make us racist.
@ObserverInLosAngeles You have a limited role of how society functions. Los Angeles and California have some laws which many believe make it more likely that people will flee from an accident. Los Angelss is also enacting policies which make the streets much more dangerous for bicycles. Thus, some people anticipate a higher rate of Hit and Run involving bicycles.
However, both Villaraigosa and Garcetti refuse to collect data on traffic, population, fires, paramedics, death rates, accidents, and a host of other vital public issues, e.g. parks, water usage. The common motive behind LA's dearth of data is the desire of these two men to propel their personal careers by diverting tax dollars to their corporate buddies. If we had sophisticates data on public services and how to deliver them, then would be less tax dollars for these political hacks to give to their friends.
This LAPD Hit and Run report shows how Villaraigosa and Garcetti obfuscate rather than elucidate.
@medocad its the illegal aliens and drunkards. no insurance no license. dont blame the cops. society does not want to here the truth because that would make us racist.
@medocad As a general proposition, bigotry does not solve public policy issues.
@medocad maybe if you allowed illegals to have a drivers license, they would have to have insurance and also prove they can drive.
@scottzwartz @medocad Stating the truth is not bigotry. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether or not medocad is correct. A USC study recently claims that 1 in 10 adults in LA county is here illegally. Why don't aliens have a drivers license from the country they are citizens of?
making lame statements without any data to prove it is racist.
Give me proof and I'll agree with you and think you're not a racist. However, when most people think everyone with brown skin is an illegal, I find these calls for immigration control or blaming immigrants for everything is usually racist in nature.
@mtrmann Good question. One problem we have in LA is that the City refuses to gather pertinent data on a host of subjects. I know that Israelis and Canadians who over stay their visas usually have driver's licenses. I would suspect, but I have way to verify, that farm workers from Chiapas may not have drivers' licenses. My guess is that it has to do with where they lived before they came to California.
We need facts, but this city is not going to spend money to gather facts.
@mtrmann There are no facts to back up the assertion -- to judge before the facts are uncovered is to Pre-Judge, i.e.g bigotry.
@medocad @scottzwartz For better or for worse, the data does indicate that unlicensed, often illegal aliens, and other illegal drivers (e.g., DUIs), flee the scenes of an accident (Hit and Run) see for example: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/10/11/report-illegal-drivers-behind-high-hit-and-run-rate-in-la/ . However, that does not explain the numerous times that we see hit and runs that are not part of this data -- e.g., Don Ward's perpetrator was not an illegal alien, rather a high-ranking city official (!) As a cyclist, one who lives in South LA today and who lived in Santa Monica for 10 years before, both areas or rife with bad drivers who would likely flee the scene of an accident. I've been hit once in Santa Monica (by a USC student) -- while riding in the right direction in a marked bike lane -- and the person did not flee. But the drivers were a serious problem who essentially felt/feel entitled to the road. And that is the real problem and it comes out in the hateful comments here again and again: motorists do not like cyclists and could care less, and the LAPD (and Santa Monica police and other PD's in the area) could care less about cyclists and pedestrians, and very little about motorist accidents.
As the LA Weekly Dec 6 article suggests, we have a crisis on our hands. And thus it is -- and while it does have to do with a statistical frequency involving 'illegals,' this is not the problem, merely the outward statistical manifestation.
Until LA government/infrastructure and its traffic enforcement agencies take seriously hit and runs, we will have a culture and reality that rewards motorists for being dicks -- often very deadly ones.
@sirvaldrin2002 @medocad @scottzwartz Apparently you have missed the point completely. Illegals are not allowed to DRIVE in this country. That is why they don't get drivers licenses. Illegals are not allowed to DRIVE in any country! Giving them drivers licenses will not insure that they have insurance or stop if they have an accident.
fine let's blame illegals, can you show me the evidence that shows they are more to blame than drunks and others? I don't doubt they do this, have even had an accident with a non licenced/insured driver of probable illegal status. However, I don't like scapegoating unless there is evidence saying this is true. Then if it is true, what then? Should we keep allowing them to drive without a licence or insurance? NO! We should insist that licenses be issued with proof of insurance. Many would agree to do this if it means staying in this country. The ones who don't can be shipped back or frankly shot. Or were you expecting them to self deport themselves like our buddy who lost the last election?