default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

Police Crackdown on Jaywalking Means Tickets of Up to $250 - Los Angeles Downtown News - For Everything Downtown L.A.!: News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

News Police Crackdown on Jaywalking Means Tickets of Up to $250

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 5:00 am

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - It’s that time of year again: Downtowners have dug out their holiday decorations and are taking to the streets in search of the perfect gift for friends and relatives. 


It turns out, it’s also that time of year for the Los Angeles Police Department: In an effort to enhance public safety, officers have begun an intense crackdown on jaywalking in the Historic Core and the Financial District.

The veritable lumps of Christmas coal run usually from $190 to $250, authorities say. LAPD Traffic Division officers are warning Central City residents and workers that you don’t need to be crossing against a red light to receive a citation — simply stepping off the curb while the countdown clock ticks could result in a ticket, said Lt. Lydia Leos. 

“We’re heavily enforcing pedestrian violations because they’re impeding traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths,” Leos said, noting the department tickets jaywalkers year-round, but during the holiday season more people come into Downtown and aren’t paying attention to the rules of the road, which increases the number of citations. 

Since Jan. 1, 2013, the LAPD has recorded four pedestrian deaths and 129 vehicle-pedestrian accidents in Downtown, Leos said. LAPD statisticians do not break down citations by individual division, but this year officers from Central Bureau, which includes Central, Hollenbeck, Newton, Rampart and Northeast divisions, dispensed 31,326 citations. 

Leos acknowledged that California’s vehicle code is stricter than many other states with its pedestrian rules. Although the tickets are ruffling feathers throughout Downtown, Leos said police categorize the citations as a way to educate the citizenry. She added that Central Division has posted pedestrian rules on its Facebook page, and spread the word through other social media formats. 

That doesn’t cut it for some Downtowners, including Anthony Bejarano. The Financial District resident, a lawyer, has seen people become incensed after being ticketed at Seventh and Figueroa streets. The citations seem to be happening on a weekly basis, he said. 

“This is a bigger issue than just getting a ticket, though $200 is painful for a lot of students and artists who live Downtown,” he said. “This is a highly mobile, highly educated community that should be a resource to police, but the relationship has become antagonistic because of all these jaywalking tickets. That’s absurd.” 

According to California Vehicle Code 21456, pedestrians can’t walk if there’s a “Don’t Walk” sign or an upraised hand symbol. Anyone who has started crossing after one of those flashes should proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone.

Others riled by the crackdown include longtime Downtown resident Edgar Varela. In 2010, Varela recalled walking east at Seventh and Hope streets with 16 seconds showing on the traffic signal. He said the “Walk” signal had expired, but the countdown continued. He saw officers in the intersection, locked eyes with one, and proceeded to cross. 

The officer gave him a $197 ticket, Varela said. Varela took down the officer’s information and photographed all the poles and crosswalks at the intersection. Varela believes this evidence helped him to have the ticket dismissed.

“I was appalled that instead of educating the public on this obscure technicality on crossing the street, the LAPD found this to be a way to generate funds and polarize local residents while discouraging pedestrian traffic,” he said. 

Alarmed at the number of residents’ complaints, Blair Besten, executive director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District, brought up the topic recently at a previously scheduled meeting with Capt. Ann Young, who oversees the LAPD Traffic Division. Besten sees a need for enforcement, but questions how many people know that stepping off the curb could mean stepping into a hefty fine. 

Besten is pushing for a community meeting where LAPD traffic representatives will answer questions. The session is still being planned, but authorities are looking to host it in the Historic Core in the near future, Besten said. 

“Hopefully we can see more of an educational, outreach program,” Besten said. “We have a lot of people visiting Downtown and we don’t want their experience to include a $250 jaywalking ticket. That’s hardly a light smack on the wrist.”

For now, the only way to be certain to avoid a ticket is to cross on green, and to stay on the sidewalk when the countdown clock is ticking.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • John Merrifield posted at 11:14 am on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    johnthecreative Posts: 4

    This is what happens when your city is not only broke, but literally the worst run city in the country. People back east, do yourselves a favor and don't move to L.A. anymore. I know it's cold out there. Just get through the winter and stay there. It's better where you are in lots of ways.

    Ironically a recent study reveals what I have always known and have been preaching for may years: It's safer to jaywalk than to use the cross walk. But the city of L.A. doesn't care about your safety. They just want as much money as they can pump out of you before you are run over.

  • John Merrifield posted at 11:12 am on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    johnthecreative Posts: 4

    Well put. Hit and runs are caused by illegal aliens and uninsured or unlicensed drivers, not the people they hit. Lets focus on those problem first.

  • John Merrifield posted at 11:08 am on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    johnthecreative Posts: 4

    Uh, gee IDK, maybe they are told to do it by the city, who BTW pay their salaries? Ever think of that dude?

  • John Merrifield posted at 11:06 am on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    johnthecreative Posts: 4

    Lemme flip the script bud. I wonder if you've done any walking lately?

    The reason why most people jaywalk is because they are in a hurry just like you and they may have to jaywalk in order to get there on time. If my bus is coming down the other side of the street I will risk my life to catch it. So put yourself in their shoes and stop being so focused on only yourself.

  • Joe Markowitz posted at 11:30 pm on Mon, Dec 16, 2013.

    joemarkowitz Posts: 1

    If the concern is for avoiding pedestrian accidents, why put all the burden on pedestrians? The real problem we have downtown is that we have given about 90% of all the public space to automobiles-- for free-- and we seem more concerned about maintaining the freedom of drivers to hurtle through the streets, than we care about the safety of pedestrians.

    Here's what we would do if we cared about the safety, and quality of life for pedestrians. We would eliminate all push buttons for crossing the street. Why should pedestrians have to wait through an entire light cycle if they forget or arrive too late at the intersection to push the button. We should refuse to allow sidewalks to be blocked for any reason. If construction requires blocking of sidewalks, we should take a lane of traffic away to make room for pedestrians. And that's just for starters. Next we should remove all the red curbs, and install metered parking everywhere. That provides a safety and sound buffer for pedestrians, not to mention finally collecting some revenue from drivers who think they have some God-given right to use a disproportionate share of scarce public space for free. We should return to two way traffic most everywhere downtown. No more six lane thoroughfares that drivers treat as freeways.

    The object should be to reduce and slow down traffic. The best way to do that is to reduce the amount of space allotted for cars, and return that space to pedestrians, bicycles, busways and streetcars. That is the way to make the city safe for pedestrians, and at the same time to reduce noise and pollution and make the city sidewalks and other spaces more liveable.

  • Faith Oswald posted at 2:28 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    chickinaloft Posts: 2

    The police are stationing themselves in the South Park area. I was ticketed near @ 9th St & Hope. I paid the tkt. It generated revenue. I was told by the officer that I was getting the ticket due to crossing against the light & due to the "race card", the officer's exact words. If find the use of "race card" egregious. The color of anyone's skin, hair, nail polish, shoes is irrelevant to note when a tkt of any kind is issued.

  • Michael` Kelley posted at 1:43 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    badgermike Posts: 1

    The city will complain that this is about generating revenue but we know that is BS. I have been downtown everyday and I have only seen the police handing out tickets in the Skid Row area. How is this generating revenue? The majority of these tickets will go to people who will either throw them away or file for indigent status. I would think if this is about generating revenue that the police would station themselves near Staples Center at a Laker game or in the financial district. If the police really want to do a service they should give tickets to the skateboarding thugs who terrorize DTLA's sidewalks with no regard for their safety or the safety of the pedestrians who use the sidewalks.

  • Karl Lime posted at 9:12 am on Tue, Dec 10, 2013.

    K Lime Posts: 6

    Once again the city and the police department demonstrate that they have no idea what a pedestrian is and that automobile throughput is far more important to them than the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. In LA County pedestrians and bicyclist account for one third of all the traffic fatalities and account for 20% of the transportation system users but only get 1% of transportation funding to improve safety and save lives.
    First, the original design and intent of the pedestrian countdown timer is a pre-yellow light so that the handicap, elderly and people with children have an idea of how long they have to get across the street. It was never intended as a red light for pedestrian and if the countdown timer shows 16 seconds, plus the yellow light plus the all red phase and I can cross the street in 8 seconds why should I be forced to wait at a green light. Just because I don’t drive a car doesn’t make my time any less valuable than someone speeding down the street behind a ton of steel. The reason they outlawed crossing the street at crosswalks is to generate revenue, it’s easier for the donut swilling cops to catch a slow moving pedestrian than a speeding car not yielding to pedestrians and running stop signs and to pretend they are trying to improve pedestrian safety even though the California Stop is far more deadly and dangerous that crossing a street with traffic while the light is still green.
    Second they article states that pedestrians imped traffic. Here’s a news flash; pedestrians are just another component of traffic.
    The article even states that pedestrians crossing the street at crosswalks are the cause of accidents, not speeding cars, not cars that fail to stop at Stop signs and red lights, not cars that gun it when the light turns green so they can turn and cut across the lane of traffic carrying pedestrian, not cars that turn when pedestrians are in the crosswalk, not drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians, not cars that imped pedestrian traffic when they stop in the crosswalk. After all if there are no pedestrians there would be no pedestrian deaths. The city would outlaw walking if they could; as the article states “the only way to be certain to avoid a ticket is to cross on green, and not step into the sidewalk when the countdown clock is ticking.” See they don’t even want you on the sidewalk.
    Mr Karl Lime

  • Florent Mbesse posted at 8:41 am on Tue, Dec 10, 2013.

    ndongomarc Posts: 3

    just another tool to try to steal money from people they are supposed to protect. you should be ashamed of yourself.250?. haven't you stolen enough from bogus parking tickets.

  • Mike Demirakian posted at 1:06 am on Tue, Dec 10, 2013.

    M Demirakian Posts: 5

    This is a dumb argument heard over and over. The money doesn't go into the cops pocket and it doesn't go back into the department. So ask yourself what incentive lapd has for writing them other than their own perception of public safety? Guilty of not thinking outside the box. Check. Guilty of making some invisible pot of money for themselves grow? Silly.

  • Mike Demirakian posted at 1:04 am on Tue, Dec 10, 2013.

    M Demirakian Posts: 5

    Totally agree with you! OR worse, they aren't texting, they cross extremely slowly as the countdown has started and act like they are entitled to crawl across the street at whatever pace they want. With kids even. What are they teaching them about street safety?

  • theodore reyes posted at 5:02 pm on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    teodoro Posts: 1

    I wonder if complainers of stricter enforcement of j-walking laws do any driving? I've lived in and around downtown for many, many years. And I have never encountered as many j-walkers as I have in these past 5 yrs. Most jay walkers are so enthralled with their texting or telephone conversations that they become oblivious to traffic, and other dangers around them. Where have these folks come from.....why do they believe it's the drivers responsibility to look out for their safety. I absolutely agree pedestrians must be provided clear instruction on legal and safe walking guidelines. I often encounter people stepping off the curb into traffic (while on their phones/or other devices) w/o ever looking up to see if it is safe to walk across the street. They assume a 2000 or 3000 lb vehicle will see them and stop on a dime so as not to hit them. THESE J-WALKERS ARE EXTREMELY NARCISSISTIC IN BELIEVING OTHERS MUST WATCH OUT FOR THEIR SAFETY; WHILE THEY TEXT OR ARE CONSUMED IN A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WHILE WALKING ACROSS STREETS ILLEGALLY. BASICALLY J-WALKERS ARE SAYING; "CARS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP FOR ME....BECAUSE IT'S THE LAW, PEDISTRIANS HAVE THE RIGHT AWAY". This screw others attitude can and will, one day, come back to haunt them when they get hit by a car and become crippled or dead. .

  • Faith Oswald posted at 1:43 pm on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    chickinaloft Posts: 2

    I was issued a jaywalking tkt last yr, Dec 29, 13. I walked against the light, noted as a violation of the "jaywalking law". The police officer stopped me, proceeded to tell me that I had violated the law. He added that he had to give me a ticket because of the "race card". The officer proceeded to advise me that an African-American man standing on the same corner, pointed to himself, then pointed to the officer & then pointed to me. The police officer continued to explain that he had to issue me the tkt because this African-American man saw me jaywalk, therefore he had to issue the jaywalking tkt due to "my skin color". I am a Caucasian woman. The color of my skin or anyone's skin should have nothing to do with the issuing of a ticket. This issue should never even enter into any kind of discussion at any time. I filed a complaint & the police dept notified me that they had received it, but nothing more. Being told by a police officer that one is being ticketed for violation of the law is one thing, but adding, "due to the race card" is uncalled for and egregious for all of humanity.

  • Edgar Varela posted at 11:47 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    EVFA Culture Consulting Posts: 2

    The LAPD provided some stats to back this up, but they noted Citywide Stats and "couldn't" give specifics on DTLA.

  • Shiz posted at 11:44 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    Shiz Posts: 1

    Common on... Who are you kidding? It is all about the money. We are talking over 7 million dollars a year. God forbid you fail to pay the ticket, now your in the system. If you couldn't afford to pay the $200 ticket now you really won't be able to pay the $600-$800 fine plus the $200 ticket. Oh yeah and now at this point you probably have a warrant for your arrest. So now your looking at jail time or community service or both. Mo' Money, Mo Money, Mo' Money!! Oh yeah its a viscous cycle they got going here.

  • Marc Caldwell posted at 11:31 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    iancaldwell Posts: 4

    With the horrifying stats of epidemic hit and run accidents in L.A.--as reported extensively by the L.A. Weekly--and the LAPD is going after the victims rather than drivers.

  • Ramon Mendez posted at 11:29 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    Ramoncito Posts: 1

    The annual Jaywalking "education" process infuriates me because if LAPD really wanted to educate, they would focus on both cars AND pedestrians because we, along with cyclists, need to share the road and sidewalks. Ticketing a jaywalker while ignoring cars that lunge towards pedestrians who are legally crossing but not ticketed is a wasted teachable moment.

  • Christopher Petryk posted at 11:09 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    CowboyCochise Posts: 8

    If they cared about public safety they would do their jobs and ticket the crazy drivers, especially the buses who are worse than anyone in dtla. This is clearly a money grab, and it makes the LAPD look pathetic. And yet theyre trying to foster an upscale downtown pedestrian friendly environment?!? PLEASE. pathetic.

  • Virginia posted at 10:50 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    Virginia Posts: 19

    Why is it that the only time you see the LAPD walking a beat is to write up ridiculous jaywalking tickets? If they got out of the patrol cars and walked downtown, the LAPD could deter actual criminal activity instead of petty jaywalking.

  • Kathleen Hopkins posted at 10:17 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    kata Posts: 4

    I can understand the ticketing if someone's crossing mid-block, or even walking against a red light. But ticketing someone because they step off the curb when the countdown just started is too much. I would believe it was more for public safety if it weren't for that statement.

  • Edgar Varela posted at 9:44 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    EVFA Culture Consulting Posts: 2

    Now there 313 fans will be well informed about the rules via facebook. This is all BS and the response from LAPD is a Joke!