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LAPD charging jaywalkers $191 in new crackdown

November 29, 2010 | 10:37 am

Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Pedestrians should think twice before jaywalking in downtown L.A. -- or they could walk away with a $191 fine.

During the busy holiday shopping season, the Los Angeles Police Department is ramping up a zero-tolerance policy for jaywalkers downtown, particularly the Historic Core area, as part of an effort to reduce accidents and prevent crime, officials said.

A citation won't be cheap, now costing $191.

"This is about more than reducing accidents during the holidays," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "This is about preventing thefts and robberies. Jaywalking is often done by thieves, purse snatchers and robbery suspects to target their victims."

Vernon said such criminals often suddenly see a potential target and run across the road mid-block. To be better able to spot such suspects, the department wants to deter law-abiding citizens from such behavior, he said.

"We will be watching; that is the message we want to get out there," Vernon said. Authorities said officers will paying particular attention to Spring and Main streets.

With the jump in pedestrians, the holiday season can be a deadly one. In 2009, Vernon said, there were three accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in the downtown area between Nov. 25 and Dec. 31.

Two of those incidents were blamed on the person on foot and resulted in serious injury to the pedestrian, Vernon said. The third incident, which resulted in a pedestrian's death, was due to a speeding driver, he said.

The cost of tickets in Los Angeles has become an issue as officials increasingly turn to parking and traffic violations as a way to boost their depleted coffers. The ticket for an expired meter in Los Angeles jumped from $40 in 2008 to about $50 last year, and "fix-it" tickets for minor moving violations such as broken tail lights more than doubled.

News of the jaywalking crackdown was first reported in the Downtown News.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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