Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

Crime’ In The Streets:

LV Becoming Paradise For Many Jaywalkers

Crime is running rampant in the street!

But sometimes it's more of a slow walk.

In either case, it would appear that Las Vegas has become an international paradise for jaywalkers.

They cross streets anywhere, anytime, particularly on Fremont Street downtown and along the Strip. Metro Police however, admit, jaywalking is given a "low priority'' because officers are kept busy trying to cite careless drivers.

"In my 15 years here, I can't ever remember a jaywalking citation in (Clark County) Justice Court,'' court office supervisor Frances Bulloch said.

About 3,000 tickets for all traffic violations are written each month, she said, although no records are kept for the number of tickets written for each type of violation.

A similar situation exists in Las Vegas Municipal Court.

Judge Seymour Brown said he has encountered possibly five jaywalking cases in his six years on the bench.

Last year, he said, more than 41,000 traffic citations were process through the court.

Brown, who said he handles 100 to 200 traffic cases a day, added that a crackdown on jaywalkers downtown could hurt the tourist industry.

But he added:

"It disturbs me that people come to this town and think the laws are for everybody else. That's not right, either.''

Bail for jaywalking is set at $25. If an auto accident is involved, it's $50, he said. Depending on circumstances and past record, Brown asserted he would probably fine a convicted jaywalker $5 or $10 if the case didn't involve an auto accident.

Only out-of-state violators would be allowed to mail in fines with a guilty plea, he said. His philosophy emphasizes court appearances for as many traffic cases as possible.

His most recent jaywalking case was Wednesday when he considered the case of a woman who was injured when she was struck by a motor home.

Six pedestrians have been killed so far this year when they were struck by cars on Las Vegas streets, according to Metro traffic Detective Ken John.

Of those, at least four were cases in which a pedestrian unexpectedly stepped into the path of a moving car in the middle of the street, police statistics indicate.

None of the drivers who struck pedestrians this year were cited, indicating they were not believed at fault, John said.

Some people "think they can walk anywhere,'' John said. The answer is "education to a degree,'' but stepped up enforcement would be difficult, he added.

"It's a hard violation to enforce,'' he said.

Traffic Lt. Steve Waugh agreed saying "moving violations are our primary concern.''

"It's a low priority,'' he said about jaywalking enforcement. "You would end up with more complaints if you started enforcing the jaywalking laws.''

Although he only started in the traffic division March 18, Waugh said no one has complained about lax enforcement against jaywalkers.

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