LAPD Urged to Take Tougher Stand on Hit-and-Run Crashes

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – A Los Angeles City Council committee urged the LAPD Friday to crack down on hit-and-runs crashes.

The Council’s Public Safety Committee recommended the police department change its policy on the crashes, including taking reports on all hit-and-run incidents.

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LAPD officers respond to a hit-and-run crash after someone was injured

The police department does not currently take reports on hit-and-runs if there is no injury or damage to city property.

The Committee also recommended police remove the word “accident” from a hit-and-run, and classify it as a “crime.”

There are 20,000 hit-and-run traffic crashes in Los Angeles each year, according to a report prepared by the Los Angeles Police Department and presented to the Council’s Public Safety Committee in June.

Councilman Joe Buscaino said at Friday’s committee meeting, “whether an injury occurred or not, it’s a hit-and-run problem.”

Buscaino, who currently chairs the committee, criticized police efforts to combat the crime.

“I don’t think the Department is doing a good job of making this a priority,” Buscaino said.

Deputy LAPD Chief Michael Downing agreed that hit-and-runs were a problem.  He called on City Hall to do more to address the issue as well.

“It can’t just be the police department, the community has to be involved as well,” Downing said as he  suggested penalties be increased for hit-and-runs.

The Public Safety Committee planned to recommend that the full council approve legislation to increase penalties for hit-and-run crashes.

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