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City Wants Amber Alerts For Hit And Runs

A car crash (Photo by Robert Crum via Shutterstock)
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With Los Angeles' rough track record of having the most hit-and-runs in the nation, city officials are lobbying for an effort to put out Amber alerts for severe or fatal hit-and-runs.

Here's how it would work: the alert system would send out identifying information about the suspected cars involved in the crashes to signs on freeways, according to City News Service. The details would also be sent out to the media and the public.

The LAPD will be looking into how a system like this would work in Los Angeles: they could implement the use of already-available technology like cell phone and email alerts.

The system would be modeled after the Medina Alerts that are already set up in two Colorado cities. It's named after a 21-year-old hit-and-run victim, Jose Medina, who was killed by a driver who fled the scene in Denver, according to CBS Los Angeles. The Medina Alerts have had some success in Colorado: out of 17 alerts that were sent out, 13 cases were solved. The notifications were also sent out to taxi drivers in the area, who spend most of their time on the road.

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Los Angeles would need the state's help to enact such a system. California doesn't have a bill in the works right now for that alert system; however, city officials voted unanimously today for a measure urging lawmakers to make it happen. Councilman Mitch Englander's office told CBS Los Angeles that there was an annual average of 22 severe or fatal hit-and-run cases involving bicycles and 92 with pedestrians from 2007 to 2011. LAPD officers were only able to solve 20 percent of those cases during those years.

"We need help from Sacramento to help resolve this," said Councilman Paul Krekorian.

This isn't the first step city officials have taken towards catching hit-and-run drivers. In February, the LAPD and city attorney announced they were working on a proposal to offer up to $50,000 to nab the offenders who flee after crashes.