The NYPD has been attacking the problem of pedestrian casualties from two fronts, cracking down on both reckless drivers and jaywalkers flaunting street safety laws. But it seems that no matter how many drivers hit, maim or kill people crossing the street, it's the pedestrians who are usually at fault when massive 2-ton vehicles run them over; at least that's what NYPD officers told Upper West Siders this week at a precinct meeting on street safety.
DNAinfo reports that at a Monday meeting between 20th Precinct officers and community members, top officers pointed out that four out of five pedestrian/car collisions that took place in the area—which stretches from 59th Street to 86th Street on the West Side—were due to pedestrians crossing against the light. "That’s people running out and being struck. They’re actually standing in intersections," Sgt. Felicia Montgomery told the crowd. It's all because of that damn Candy Crush Saga: "You see people, they’re not paying attention," the precinct's commanding officer, Capt. Michael Falcon, said. "They’re looking at their phones."
The NYPD has started hanging signs at UWS intersections urging pedestrians to cross on the green light and cross at designated intersections only, and though there's no reason pedestrians shouldn't pay more attention while stepping out onto the street, the initiative seems to be part of the NYPD's more problematic trend of putting the onus on pedestrians when it comes to street safety; jaywalking tickets have seen a significant uptick recently, and earlier this month the Times reported that in one day twice as many pedestrians were handed tickets for jaywalking at an UWS intersection than drivers were issued summonses for moving violations.
And while posting a traffic cop at problematic intersections would likely help cut down on both pedestrian and driver violations, it doesn't look like that's going to happen: "We have to educate pedestrians and enforce our intersections that are bad," Capt. Falcon said. "I can’t have a [police] car at every intersection."