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Hit-and-Run Crashes in Minneapolis Rarely Result in Arrests

road after hit and runThe police responded to more than 4,000 hit-and-run complaints in 2019 alone, unfortunately, data from the Star Tribune shows arrests were made in less than one percent of cases. The Fifth Precinct in southwest Minneapolis had the lowest arrest rate for these crashes, while all five had similar percentages of arrests.

According to police department officials and city council members, the low number of arrests is partly because of the absence of a dedicated traffic unit for high-collision areas and drunken or distracted driving or speeding. Unfortunately, the council voted down a proposal to apply for a $1.3 million federal grant to help the city with traffic enforcement.

There is an ongoing debate about whether installing traffic cameras and working to engineer safer roads would be better for increasing safety than simply adding more police officers to enforce laws.

Police Policy on Hit-and-Run Crashes

In 2012, the Minneapolis Police Department instituted a policy that hit-and-run crashes should only be investigated if there were serious injuries or fatalities. Staff cuts had forced the department’s traffic unit to focus only on the more serious crashes.

Star Tribune data shows the police arrested a suspect in just 31 of 4,234 cases, a rate of 0.7 percent. Over the past five years, the police made an arrest over a hit-and-run crash in approximately seven percent of cases. If there were injuries, the arrest rate was 10 percent.

Minneapolis PD has just four traffic investigators – for comparison, they had 24 in the late 90s. These investigators are tasked with looking into hit-and-run crashes, police pursuits and crashes involving police and other city vehicles.

However, minor hit-and-run crashes and other minor crashes are usually managed by patrol officers. All five police precincts have traffic response cars for complaints about hit-and-run crashes, drivers ignoring stop signs, or speeding in areas where children commonly play.

There has also been a shift in the approach of police officers. They are trying to be more data driven in making traffic stops. Between 2010 and 2017, traffic stops declined by about 70 percent, going from 92,400 to just 29,150.

Reasons for Hit-and-Run Crashes

According to research, alcohol and drugs are common reasons why crashes happen and why drivers may decide to leave the scene.

In some cases, those who leave may be afraid they have more to lose if they wait for the police to get there. This may be particularly true if the driver has a suspended license, arrest warrant, or lapsed insurance policy.

Some of the other reasons people may flee the scene include, weather, traffic or whether there is a nearby location for drinking alcohol.

City Campaign for Traffic Safety

Our city has started a campaign to promote traffic safety, not just for drivers, but bicyclists and pedestrians as well.

In March, city officials revealed the speed limits on arterial and residential streets will be reduced next year as part of the Vision Zero program, which has a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2027 using education, traffic enforcement and improved street design. Next year, the speed limit on arterial streets will be reduced to 25 miles per hour and the speed on residential streets will be reduced to 20 miles per hour.  

Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident? Call TSR Injury to Discuss Legal Options

Whether the police investigate the crash or not, you may be able to obtain compensation for your damages through an insurance claim. As these claims can be quite complicated, it is important to contact a trusted Minneapolis car accident lawyer.

At TSR Injury Law, we offer a free legal consultation to hit-and-run crash victims to discuss if you may be eligible for compensation for damages. We have extensive knowledge of Minnesota insurance regulations and coverages for hit-and-run crashes.

We charge no upfront fees for representing our clients. Call (612) TSR-TIME today.

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