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High-Speed Pursuit: The Offenders' Perspective

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1998) Pages: 30-45
Date Published
16 pages

Interviews were conducted with individuals in Nebraska, Florida, and South Carolina, who admitted they fled from the police within the past year.


Suspect interviews revealed several important findings. Suspects who ran from the police averaged 26.2 years of age, and 94 percent were male. Of 146 vehicular chases, 30 percent were terminated when suspects stopped and either ran or gave up. About 57 percent of apprehended suspects said police had beaten them at the conclusion of the chase. Suspects ran from police because they were driving a stolen car, driving with a suspended driver's license, running from a crime scene, running to avoid arrest, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Suspect interviews showed the number of police pursuits may have been greater than the number reported in official police records. Escapees were not more desperate or more involved in serious offenses than arrested individuals. In addition, escapees were no more likely than arrested individuals to have thought about punishment during the chase and were no more likely than arrested individuals to be willing to run at all costs. As measured by involvement in previous chases, escapees were no more likely to escape than those with chase experience. Suspect characteristics and attitudes did not predict escaping or being apprehended by police, but several variables had a strong influence on the willingness of suspects to take extreme risks to escape. Risk taking increased the likelihood of negative police pursuit outcomes. The authors conclude understanding interaction patterns between police officers and suspects is central to controlling negative outcomes of police pursuits. 14 references and 5 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1998