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Pedestrians Targeted In San Diego Police Sweep

Jaywalkers beware. The San Diego police are coming after you.

In a daylong pedestrian sweep Thursday, police targeted jaywalkers and people who cross streets even though that menacing red hand sign is glowing.

Photo credit: Design for Health

San Diego police launched a daylong enforcement sweep targeting violations on the part of people walking, jogging, bicycling and skateboarding on city streets.

The idea is to teach pedestrians the rules of the road, said San Diego Police Lieutenant Steve Hutchinson. While police officers will mostly be giving out warnings, they will also not be afraid to hand out tickets.

“It may entail writing a ticket or two, but those lessons, we just have to endure," he said. "Sometimes people don’t understand until they get cited and they have to pay a ticket.”

There have been 13 accidents in San Diego this year where cars hit pedestrians. The pedestrian was at fault in 10, and six were fatal, Hutchinson said. He hopes the crackdown will get everyone to wake up.

“If a pedestrian is walking with headphones on and a driver is distracted, looking at his texts, those two, they collide, even if the pedestrian is not at fault, the pedestrian is going to lose,” he said.

The crackdown was slated to run from 7 a.m. to midnight Thursday. Crackdowns will continue at regular intervals throughout the year, Hutchinson said.

A special police detail is assigned to the project. Hutchinson would not say how many officers are participating, only that there are "quite a few."

Police will also be looking out for bikers breaking traffic rules and skateboarders, who according to Hutchinson cannot ride on sidewalks or streets. All areas of the city will be targeted, as no one specific area has more pedestrian accidents, he said.

Thursday's operation was partially funded by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, in conjunction with the National Traffic Safety Administration.

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Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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