AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police officers are being reassigned to the city's most dangerous areas for pedestrians. A new strategy focuses on groups of officers saturating areas where there have been a large number of auto-pedestrian crashes.
Of the city's 14 auto fatalities this year, eight have been pedestrians or cyclists. The number puts Austin on track to become one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians.
Austin police are now moving officers to the most dangerous pedestrian areas.
"What we're seeing now is a 50-50 split between autos and pedestrians as far as whose at fault," said Sgt. Mike Fitzgerald. "Every day there's officers, who in the motorcycle unit ...their day is devoted to only those efforts -- all day long."
On Monday, four officers patrolled the area near Riverside and Pleasant Valley Drive and gave out more than two dozen citations to pedestrians and motorists in only a few hours.
The increase in crashes is due to more traffic, people not obeying the laws, and more distracted drivers.
"It all results in an increase in the fatalities and the collisions that we're seeing," said Fitzgerald.
Police will continue the focused patrols and move officers around based on crash data.
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