Table of Contents
The role of police in crime prevention cannot be gainsaid as they help to prevent a host of criminal activities from taking place. To realize their policing goals, the police departments use diverse strategies and techniques. One of the methods used by police to apprehend criminals concerns the high-speed police chase whereby police use fast moving vehicles to follow the criminals. With this method, there have been debates on whether there is need for it when a cost- benefit analysis perspective is embraced. This essay argues that high-speed police chase should be banned because the costs outweigh the potential benefits that it may have.
One of the reasons why high-speed police chase should be banned revolves around the mortalities that are associated with the method (Johnson, 74). The death toll of bystanders, the police themselves, and the occupants of the chased vehicles and other road users arising from high-speed police chases is staggering and bears no repeating (Frankk). According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the last 3 decades have seen 10,462 from high-speed police chase related cases (Crockett). What is more, a study done in the year 2004 analyzed 7430 of the deaths and found that bystanders contributed one third of those who had died from such high police chases. It is important that the lives of road users are prevented from such obvious causes and with these figures, it becomes evident that high-speed police chases are contributing to avoidable deaths and should be banned.
Not only are high speed police chases are causing deaths, they are also resulting in unnecessary damages. According to Johnson (74), in 40% of the high-speed police chases result in property damages such as vehicle damages, house crashes, and injuries. Such costs are estimated be more than $100,000 annually. Such damages also affect the economy in big ways when there aggregate impacts are assessed. Such huge funds could be directed to other positive developments if the high-speed police chases could be avoided (Frank). In other words, because the high –speed police chases also cause other hazards, they should be equally banned.
Another perspective on why the high-speed police chases should be banned relates to the fact that high-speed police chases are not the only method available, but just one of the many methods that can be used to apprehend or follow criminals in fast moving vehicles. For example, cones can be put in the paths of oncoming vehicles and this could still stop the vehicles. In addition, police can erect roadblocks in various parts of the roads once there is information of an occupant in a fast moving vehicle (Zoellner, 205). With such roadblocks, the drivers will finally be forced to stop. When there is a roadblock, every motorist will be forced to slow down and in the process, the occupants of the vehicle will be arrested. Such methods have been found to be effective when chasing criminals in most cases and therefore there is no reason why they should not be used. If the approaches are adopted, it is likely that the problems experienced with high speed police chases will be reduced. With approaches like that, there would be no damages and the risks posed to other road users will have been reduced significantly.
Although the disadvantages associated with the high-speed police chasings are clear as supported by evidence, there are those who support the use of the approach. According to the proponents, one of the reasons why high-speed police chasers should not be banned is that they ensure real time tracking of criminals. In this regard, the proponents argue that they help to ascertain immediate apprehensions. While it is true that high speed police chasings are real time as far as criminals tracking is concerned, this viewpoint can be impugned on two grounds. First, a majority of the occupants in fast moving vehicles has been found to be petty offenders and thus they bear little harm to others. Second, even if the person in the fast moving car was a dangerous criminal, it would be unwise to put the lives of other road users or the police in danger. In other words, the pursuit of one criminal should not be used to endanger the lives of other road users.
Overall, police officers are doing a great job providing security and protecting the lives of people. The police use different methods to realize their security goals and maintain law and order in societies. Like everything else, the methods have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the common methods used by police to follow and apprehend criminals relates to the high-speed police chases. Based on the mortalities and damages caused by high-speed chases coupled with the fact that there are alternative approaches that can be used to track occupants of fast moving vehicles, it makes sense that the high-speed chases should be banned. The costs associated with this approach of policing outweigh the benefits hence it should be banned.
- Crockett, Zachary. “The Case for Banning High-Speed Police Chases.” Priceonomics. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
- Frank, Thomas. “High-speed Police Chases Have Killed Thousands of Innocent Bystanders.” USA Today. Gannett, 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
- Johnson, Richard R. “A Longitudinal Examination of Officer Deaths from Vehicle Pursuits.” International Journal of Police Science & Management 15.2 (2013): 77-94. Web.
- Zoellner, Thomas. “‘He Cannot Get Away from Us’: Tautologies in Police Chases.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 13.2 (2010): 205-16. Web.