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Jake Tapper Blames Police, Not Crime, For Increased Traffic Deaths

Jake Tapper
Image CreditGrabien screengrab

CNN’s Jake Tapper ignored blue-city soft-on-crime regimes Tuesday with a segment blaming the police for increased traffic deaths. Tapper featured a year-long investigation from the San Francisco Chronicle that found the majority of those killed in police chase crashes were bystanders, not suspects.

“Police car chases end with hundreds dead every year in the United States,” Tapper said. “Most of those killed are not the drivers fleeing the police.”

Tapper interviewed Susie Neilson, a data reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle and co-author of the report.

“Most experts agree that police should be allowed to pursue people suspected of violent crimes,” Neilson said. “But the reality is the vast majority of these chases are initiated over minor infractions.”

Tapper and Neilson left out data showing soft-on-crime policies are to blame.

According to Bloomberg Opinion Columnist Justin Fox last fall, “The Decline in Police Traffic Stops Is Killing People.” Fox cited Centers for Disease Control data showing more than 46,000 people died in motor accidents in 2022, “down slightly from 2021 but still 18 percent more than in 2019.”

“The crystallizing event that unleashed that conflict was the May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who went on to be convicted of murder on April 20, 2021,” Fox wrote, leading police to cut traffic enforcement.

Reckless driving ensued. Even National Public Radio (NPR) noted last spring that “The rise in traffic deaths could be related to changes in policing.”

“In policing, there’s a theory that people are most deterred from breaking the law not by the severity of the potential punishment, but by the likelihood of getting caught. That’s why speeds go down around those marked speed cameras,” said NPR reporter Martin Kaste on a network podcast. “By the same token, if cops aren’t seen pulling cars over for the small stuff – say, expired license tabs – people start to think that they’ll get away with more serious offenses, such as running red lights. A lot of cops think this is what’s happening on American roads right now.”

Tapper’s segment framed police chases in pursuit of law enforcement as an instrument of excessive force instead.

“It’s part of a broader problem with police use of force,” Neilson claimed.

This article has been updated since publication.

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