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Police Worried About Upswing In Auto Vs. Pedestrian Accidents

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Pedestrians getting hit by cars has become an epidemic in Denver.

Sometimes the driver is making a turn and doesn’t see a pedestrian. Sometimes the pedestrian is jaywalking and walks into oncoming traffic. Either way, Denver police say they know they have to do something about it.

Zamay and Arzat Khan embody the tragedy of pedestrian accidents. Both little boys were killed at 14th and Yosemite in March. But they are among 30 Denver pedestrians who have been seriously injured by vehicles this year — compared to 21 victims for all of 2012.

“It’s a very scary thought that we’re on the upswing,” Sgt. Mike Farr said. “We feel an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to prevent those crashes.”

Investigators can’t pinpoint an exact reason for the upswing, but they are brainstorming solutions. That includes reaching out to other cities to ask what’s worked and what hasn’t.

“I’m a firm believer in, ‘I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but I’ll take your wheel and I’ll put my hub cap on it,’ ” Farr said.

San Diego is on the Denver Police Department’s list. The city implemented a crackdown on jaywalkers after a spike in pedestrian fatalities. One day in March San Diego police wrote tickets to 340 pedestrians.

Denver’s approach will likely be more focused on education. Police are in the early planning stages of a safety campaign, targeting both drivers and pedestrians. In the meantime, they’re making a plea to anyone on city streets to pay attention.

“Always be watching. Have your head on a swivel,” Farr said.

There have been four hit-and-run fatalities in Denver so far this year. All but one have been solved.

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