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Some police departments outsmarting, not outrunning criminals in pursuits

Police
Posted at 5:58 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 20:03:05-05

CLEVELAND — The number of police pursuits across Northeast Ohio has accelerated. So far in 2021, police chases in Wickliffe, Willoughby Hills, Westlake and Rocky River have already outpaced all of 2020.

Wickliffe

  • 2019 — 23 chases
  • 2020 — 35 chases
  • 2021 — 45 chases

Willoughby Hills

  • 2019 — 14 chases
  • 2020 — 27 chases
  • 2021 — 44 chases

Westlake

  • 2019 — 12 chases
  • 2020 — 16 chases
  • 2021 — 19 chases

Rocky River

  • 2019 — 11 chases
  • 2020 — 6 chases
  • 2021 — 24 chases

Police departments point to several reasons including, “some agencies are choosing to not pursue at all, even for more major crimes that some other agencies do pursue, and I think people have gotten used to not being pursued so they continue wherever they go and they choose to violate the law and then fail to stop for the police,” said Wickliffe Lt. Manus McCaffery.

Police departments are balancing the risk to the public versus catching the criminal immediately. “It’s easier today than it was even 10 years ago to track down who was driving a fleeing vehicle,” said Rocky River Police Chief Geroge Lichman.

Modern technology, in some cases, is leading police right to the criminal. Rocky River police officers have had success at finding cars and arresting suspects after they have put the brakes on a pursuit. Several counties have a network of cameras that never blink catching criminals behind the wheel.

Wickliffe police are using the same technology and Lake County courts seem to be sending criminals a message about running for police.

“There’s a lot of different ways and we’ve had a lot of success in garnering arrests and convictions along with the Lake County Common Pleas Court when we do get the convictions, they’re getting some significant time for pursuits. Probably more than they ran in the first place whether they had drugs or guns probably getting more time for pursuits now, “ said McCaffery.

In some cases, that’s up to a year behind bars for running for the police in Lake County.

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