How often do people successfully run from the police?

In this day and age, with police having radios and often helicopters, it seems like it would be futile to run from the police under most circumstances. Do suspects actually get away very often? On Cops they never do, but I’ve heard that they don’t show unsuccessful chases because they don’t want to encourage people to try.

They definitely do - I was in an armed robbery a few years ago where they never caught the guys.

I’ve read news reports where police were criticized for hair raising chases that endangered the public. Some places the cops will break off pursuit if it gets dangerous. The person gets away temporarily.

Policy on running from cops varies. There was an incident here in my city in the 1990’s. Cop shot a unarmed runner. There was a big local debate about it. I can’t recall if he was suspended or not.

People flee by foot and vehicle and get away all the time. It isn’t that hard to lose the police during a chase. I know several people that have done it. Finding a place to stay hidden later is harder. Some police departments have policies that discourage car chases except for the most dangerous criminals because of the risk to innocent people and the officers. They figure that they will catch them sooner or later.

A lot more than they let you admit. I will neither confirm nor deny that I have escaped a cop on foot for a completely non violent offense.

Well, they often catch people later because they catch them doing something else, or because people talk.

I made the attempt once (stupid college idiot, probably still partially inebriated from the previous evening). I was driving probably double the speed limit, and blowing stop signs left and right in order to get to our favorite breakfast joint, which closed at 1pm (we’d probably been partying until about 5am and then napped a bit). The cop in question was approaching from the opposite direction and, by the time I saw him, my attempts at deceleration were futile. As he banged a u-turn, I dropped off the main street into a residential area and was (stupidly) looking for an open garage to hide in, which probably would have added a whole litany of charges.

When Johnny Law caught up and I gave up my flight attempt, his first words were, “Son, don’t ever, ever pull that fuckin’ shit again.”

All in all, I suppose I was lucky to just get off with a speeding ticket. That dude should have dragged me from the car and given me a wood-shampoo.

I assume that he was probably in a good mood because he’d just eaten at our destination. :wink:

I got away. You will think I am pulling your leg, but it is all 100% true.

I was 16 years old and totally fearless. Not a week before, my friend Chris had gone to jail for mowing mailboxes down all the way through a neighborhood in his grandmothers station wagon while we all cackled evilly (on his first day with a license). But I’m a slow learner. Oh wait I was 15, cuz I totalled that car on my 16th birthday. See this scar? Anyway.

I was 15, driving my mother’s 1966 Dodge Coronet (metallic green) down Orange Grove Road. My friend Victor riding shotgun, we were going to pickup my girlfriend and drop her at school. 7:15 am on a weekday and the traffic is stacked up at the red light going the other way on this two lane road, everyone headed to work, I think it was a Monday. So I’m doing 85 mph in a 35 zone right by a playground between a bunch of neighborhoods. That’s when I passed the cop.

We were going west. He was going the other way, standing still in the long line of cars. I give him credit, he was pretty quick. He spun all the way around in a cloud of smoke as my friend’s eyes got really big and he just started sputtering nonsense words. I mashed that pedal as hard as I could against the floor, but the heavy car only came with a slant six 196 automatic. Momentum was in my favor though.

The Po-Po was gaining fast, he must have been doing 100. The road has a slight curve, very slight (so slight you can’t see it on googlemap), and I was watching the rearview, waiting for the moment when he could no longer see me around the curve. The moment arrived, there was my turn, a tight right into a neighborhood I knew well (I lived less than a mile away). But that Coronet wasn’t made for racing. It became very obvious that I would never make it, I had hit the brakes too late. So I mashed the accelerator again. That was Jervey Road I just missed, if you are following on the map.

He was still, barely, out of sight as the next turn came. It was my girlfriend’s neighborhood, basically just a circle (Avalon Circle, a few roads have been added since). This time I made it, a hard right onto a short street. Now, what? I coasted down the street to the curve, where an apartment complex was, and pulled into the parking lot, planning to ditch and run. We pulled into a parking spot, in plain sight. This was a bad plan. Hmm.

Right then, a car pulled out from between two buildings and left. Huh? There’s a ROAD there. A HIDDEN ROAD. (Look, you can see the hidden road on satellite view, it’s still there on North Avalon)

30 seconds later we were parked behind the building, out of the car, walking toward my girlfriends house on Joan Street. My heart was pounding hard. Where was the cop?

We walked the short block to her house and knocked on the door. Her mother looked at me, looked at the no-car-in-the-yard, back at me. I said nothing. My girl (later my wife) had the same expression as we walked to the corner. Victor was spilling the beans to her when the cop came around the corner.

He pulled up to us. Oh. He leans out the window and says, in a Southern drawl, “Y’all see a green Plymouth Fury come ba hya doin bout a hunnert miles an howah?” I looked him right in the eye and said, quote, “No sir. We’ve been standin here bout fifteen minutes and ain’t seen nuthin.” He said thanks and drove slowly down the street, toward the apartment complex, lookin’ an thinkin’.

(He must have already cruised the other neighborhood, the first turn I didn’t make, which is why I never saw him reappear in the rearview.) He pulled into the apartment parking lot. He looked around. We watched. Victor was about to pee in his pants. He backed out. He drove around the corner. He was gone.

We walked to the car and I drove her to school. I have never been so paranoid. Never saw the cop again.

I have seedy friends who have ran from the police on multiple occasions. People get away from the police a lot more than COPS would have you believe.

who have *run

There is no escape from the grammar police. Why don’t the kids these days use participles?

You forgot to capitalize “Who”.
Why don’t kids these days use capitalization?

As to not derail the OP, no idea, but I’m betting it’s a much higher number than you’d think (or want to think).

I didn’t capitalize who because it isn’t the first word of the original sentence.

What was your cut?


In car chases; 17.9 percent escape, and further 9 percent of chases are terminated (for putting bystanders at risk)

With Helicopters involved, about 10 percent chance of escape.

On foot… no idea, most departments don’t seem to have a foot pursuit policy and those that do vary wildly; so it would depend on where you’re running. Some don’t allow a single officer to pursuit on foot, some do, some leave it up to the officer.

I would imagine that while cops actually train running after people, far fewer people train running away from people; the odds are in their favor. Running is also the second easiest way to get shot, after brandishing a weapon.

One effective technique seems to be running into a large block of flats (appartments) - the front-doors often lock automatically, meaning to police have to find someone to open it for them, and once you’re inside you can dive into a specific flat and there’s no trace of where you went.

I thought of three more times I ran. Twice was parties getting broken up so they don’t really count.

The other time is a bit entertaining. I was 17 or so and I had this beat up VW bug. We were bored on a Saturday night, just cruising around by this strip mall. Over the years the building had been added to, resulting in a large tiled walkway big enough for a VW bug to drive around between the shops. So…

We were just piddling along, no one was around. I never knew there was a small Police office in there. The cop was on the phone when we idled by. He lifted the blinds up like he couldn’t believe what he saw.

I hit the gas as he came running out. The cop cars were parked behind the strip mall, so I managed to hide behind the bank across the parking lot, in the drive-thru. Peeking around the corner we saw one, two, three cars speed away. We waited, then drove away.

His fellow officers probably teased him about the ghost car for years.

My personal ratio is 75% success. I was a wicked child.

In the UK, the vehicle chase policy is much more conservative than it is in the US (for example, the use of fishtailing to end a chase is very strongly discouraged), so if you drive stupidly enough in a residential area/town/urban environment and the police haven’t had time to get a chopper overhead then you have a higher probability of escape. The police will back off if they consider the danger to the public too high. Of course, if you drive like that there is a high chance that you will lose it and wreck, so the police will definitely be attempting to cut you off via superior numbers and giving them a good idea of where you might ditch the car, assuming you don’t plough into bus.

If you get chased on a motorway or a major A road you are very unlikely to escape if you get even one cop behind you - he will block your exit at each junction while reinforcements arrive (including chopper) and you’ve got nowhere to go but down the road. In this situation, a small group of cops will set up a rolling roadblock to back up traffic in very short order making a clean zone on the road allowing them to box you in, in the absence of members of the public.

Given the size of the UK, it’s much less likely that you run into just 1 cop - if you attract the attention of a patrol car you will very quickly see several more spring up from seemingly nowhere, including unmarked units and specialist pursuit/traffic cops.

Even with all this, often people get away - the police always err on the side of safety (at least, officially), and they are sometimes caught out by conditions - they can’t chase a bike across a park, for example, and even blowing red lights with the sirens on they have to take care when they cross a junction, unlike a fleeing vehicle that just hits the gas and hopes to barge through without crashing.

In my neighborhood in DC, the cops where chasing a kid in a stolen car. The kid lost control, hit a rowhouse and the kid bailed and ran away. The cops stopped chasing him to see if everyone was ok in the house, I don’t know if they ever caught the kid, but I’m guessing no.

I did once, like everybody else, I got away with subterfuge.

We were coming down this long freeway that was downhill, racing (if you call it that…we had regular cars, 4 cylinder…I topped out the odometer at 80 mph.) At the end of the freeway, it merged into the highway. The highway was busy, so we slowed down and got in line with the rest of the cars. Suddenly, 4 police cars zoomed past us, apparently looking for those damn teenage racers. :smiley:

I ran on accident once.

I was on the interstate, in a car with no speedometer, keeping pace with traffic around me (which, granted, put me at fault, since traffic usually goes 70 in 55 mph zones around here). Cop pulled out behind me, hit the lights. I pulled to the right side, and he followed; there happened to be an exit ramp there instead of a shoulder, so I took it down, rather than have a risky stop at the side of the interstate. I stopped at the bottom of the exit on the shoulder, hit the hazard lights, and killed the engine, then realized the cop wasn’t behind me. I waited. And waited. No one.

After half an hour or so, I gave up, started the car back up, and drove home. I then called three different local agencies (state police and the then-separate city police and sheriff departments) to find out if I was in trouble. None had any idea about what I was talking about, and one guy simply said “Sounds like you got away!”