January 25, 2006 — This is unacceptable. Killing the innocent, putting the innocent at risk is unquestionably — always — unacceptable and unjustified in the case of a property crime. Who will be the next life society trades for a bag of money?
Obviously, as in this example, high-speed pursuits cause more harm than benefit to society.
There is no conclusive proof that the threat of pursuit has any deterrent impact on criminal behavior. It is reasonable and rational to assume that one whose judgment will permit armed robbery will have little hesitancy to attempt to flee by car. We see this scenario time and time again; it makes no rational sense to enter into a high-speed chase which endangers innocent, law-abiding citizens.
In summary, as nearly as I can tell, the equation is a relatively simple one: If cops and criminals were driving the only cars on the road, I'd say that they can run and chase as either pleases. But they're not.
And since we already know the bad guys don't really care about much else but getting away, it's up to the cops to exercise some of their common sense to protect the public they're sworn to serve. Police have got to ask themselves before a high-speed chase gets underway if the crime warrants such action. If the suspects don't pull over and, in fact, speed up when sirens and flashing lights are right behind them, or if they run on sight of the police, that's decision time. Waiting until the speedometer already says 50 mph in a congested city street is too late to determine the danger is greater than the crime and to break off the chase.
Please see below an FBI Study on this issue.