In recent decades, there has been a rising national focus on police pursuits. Some departments have started experimenting with technologies like StarChase, in which officers shoot a GPS tracker onto the car instead of continuing the pursuit.
Nationwide, crashes following police chases kill an average of 355 people every year, or about one person every day, according to a 2017 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics on Police Vehicle Pursuits. There is no national or statewide database for police pursuit statistics.
The report found that from 1996 to 2015, police vehicle pursuits resulted in more than 6,000 fatal crashes and more than 7,000 deaths. Of those fatalities, 65 percent were occupants of the vehicle being pursued and 29 percent were occupants of a vehicle not involved in the pursuit.
Using data from 115 agencies tracking from 2009 to 2013, the report found that traffic offenses overwhelmingly accounted for police pursuits. More than two-thirds of all police pursuits resulted from traffic violations such as speeding or reckless driving. Police only pursued suspected violent felons in 9 percent of cases.
The small percentage of violent criminals involved in police pursuits has led some departments to enact restrictive pursuit policies, such as Milwaukee and Orlando.
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