LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that there hasn’t been an increase in police pursuits despite what seemed to be an influx over the past week.
Last Thursday, authorities chased a suspect who allegedly shot a woman and pushed her out of his car.
A South L.A. pursuit ended with four suspects in custody at a Culver City mall on Tuesday morning.
Later that night, a robbery and murder suspect was shot by police following a lengthy car chase in downtown L.A.
On Wednesday, an hour-long pursuit with four bank robbery suspects led authorities across L.A. County before finally coming to a close in South L.A., where suspects were seen throwing cash out of their windows.
LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said there only appears to be an increase in these types of crimes.
“I think it seems like there has been a lot more (car chases) recently because of the media coverage,” he said.
Smith said the number of pursuits has actually stayed the same for years.
“We average about 340 pursuits in the city of Los Angeles per year,” he said.
In fact, the number of chases has actually decreased since 2001, when there were more than 780 pursuits.
Smith said they changed their pursuit policy in 2003, so they no longer chased people because they were running.
As for the media’s part in covering pursuits, the commander said it can prompt the suspects to continue driving since a helicopter is overhead.
“I think it makes it a little bit more difficult to know there’s a helicopter because some people continue just to get the notoriety,” he said.
Smith said, at the end of the day, police try to avoid the chase.
“Pursuits are dangerous for our officers, they’re dangerous for our community, and they are certainly dangerous for the person that we’re chasing,” he said.
Police report pursuit suspects are caught about 90 percent of the time.