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In reversal, more areas allow high-speed police chases

Amanda Hernández, on

Published in News & Features

“While many states shy away from holding dangerous felons accountable for their decisions, the Florida Highway Patrol seeks to use every tool and tactic available to ensure dangerous felons end up in jail and off our streets,” the agency said in its statement.

In the District of Columbia and San Francisco, police department chase policies were changed through a major crime bill and a ballot measure, respectively.

In the District, officers will be able to begin pursuits if vehicle occupants pose an imminent threat to others. And in San Francisco, officers can initiate pursuits for any felony or “violent misdemeanors, including retail theft, vehicle theft and auto burglaries.”

Violent crime, which refers to offenses that involve force or the threat of force, across the United States decreased in 2022 — dropping to about the same level as before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the FBI’s annual crime report. Property crimes rose during the same period.

Most types of crime appear to be reverting toward pre-pandemic levels, according to a report earlier this year from the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan think tank.

Still, some states and cities are experiencing upticks in specific offenses. In Washington state, for example, the violent crime rate in 2022 rose from 335.7 to 375.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. That’s still below the national rate of 380.7 reported incidents per 100,000 people, according to the FBI.


The number of reported homicides in the state also reached a five-year high in 2022, and robberies surged by 18% compared with 2021, while law enforcement staffing continued to nosedive, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ annual crime report.

In early March, Washington state lawmakers approved a measure that came to the legislature in the form of a citizen initiative. Under the policy, law enforcement officers again may give chase when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated a law. The policy, which will go into effect in June, allows individual police agencies to impose stricter pursuit rules.

“In June, I think we’re going to see an immediate effect on how crime is treated in Washington state, and we’re going to bend that curve downward,” said Washington state Sen. Keith Wagoner, a Republican who voted for the measure, in an interview.

Washington state’s pursuit policy


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