Number of Pursuits by Pennsylvania Police Drops

The Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner released statistics showing a drop in the number of police pursuits during 2008. A total of 1,809 pursuits were made last year, compared to 1,931 during 2007. Deaths resulting from a pursuit were also down, from thirteen in 2007 to nine in 2008.

The figures reflect actions undertaken by law enforcement agencies across the state. The most common reason for initiating a pursuit was a traffic violation, such as speeding (910 pursuits). Felony criminal charges (260), driving under the influence in Pennsylvania (239) and stolen vehicles (227) were the other most cited reasons. Of all the pursuits initiated, 1,301 resulted in apprehension.

According to state law, each law enforcement agency must have a written policy for vehicle pursuit, including when to initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit. Because of safety concerns, such information is considered confidential and not available to the public. A pursuit is defined as a motorist resisting apprehension by increasing speed or ignoring indications to stop.

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