When heinous crimes happen in Los Angeles and LAPD has a hard time finding the bad guy, the City Council often steps in and offers a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of suspects.
See also: L.A.'s Bloody Hit-and-Run Epidemic.
In the case of our town's out-of-control hit-and-run epidemic, first exposed by L.A. Weekly, Councilman Joe Buscaino is proposing that City Hall establish a standing reward of $50,000 that will be available for any unsolved hit-and-run:
The councilman plans to announce the proposal for a standing reward at 8 a.m. tomorrow at Pacific Coast Highway and Wilmington Boulevard, the site of a fatal hit-and-run Sept. 16 that took the life of 26-year-old Emanuel Ayala.
Buscaino's office says he'll be joined by Ayala's family in announcing his idea.
On Friday, his office says, Buscaino will introduce the motion to the full City Council for its approval.
On Sept. 17 the council adopted Public Safety Committee recommendations on hit-and-run collisions, including ordering stricter recordkeeping by LAPD and increased task forces targeting hit-and-runs suspects.
See also: Chief Beck's Hit-and-Run Crisis.
In a report to the Police Commission, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says hit-and-run collisions have actually decreased in the last five years.
He called L.A. Weekly's stories on the phenomenon, particularly our assertion that nearly half of all collisions involved a hit-and-run, “misleading.” He did, however, admit, “There were approximately 20,000 hit-and-run collisions a year … “
Beck offers a detailed analysis of why he thinks our hit-and-run rate isn't that bad in L.A. Interestingly, when we first reported our story late last year, trying to get public information like this from the department was like pulling teeth.
There were 18,810 hit-and-runs in the city reported in 2011, the department says.
Buscaino, meanwhile, says:
It is important to explain to the public that a traffic accident is NOT a crime. It's only a crime when they fail to stop, identify themselves and render aid.