Instant Justice on the Streets of Sacramento

Here’s another installment in what could ideally become a series on how police departments are doing right by pedestrians and cyclists. We posted the Chicago bike video a couple of weeks back. We now present the Sacramento crosswalk sting. (Warning: Insufferable Geico commercial may precede video.)

Back in April, TV station KCRA filmed a plainclothes Sacramento officer busting motorists who couldn’t be bothered to yield the right of way. Notice how, though they cite the potential amount of the fine, neither the anchor nor the reporter ever intimate that the operation is a money-making scheme? Instead of sticking a mic in a driver’s face for a quick-and-dirty accusation of extortion — a near-must in most any mainstream media story about traffic enforcement — the reporter is completely sympathetic to the pedestrians in harm’s way, and rightly credits the officer for putting his life on the line.

  • I used to frequent this area when I attended the USC Sacramento Center on 18th St. and I St. While I don’t want to give the motorists a free pass, traffic engineering is what has really created this problem. J Street feels like a major thoroughfare because it is a large one-way street, part of a couplet (J and L streets). It would be better to reengineer the street so people drove more slowly.

  • Harold

    I sat in a parking space on Geary and watched SFPD ticket driver after driver after driver at an intersection in the Avenues. It felt both necessary and a money-making scheme. Seems like there could be a lot more of those kinds of schemes where public safety is concerned. I’m not a huge fan of red-light cameras, but seeing people blow through reds on a daily basis seems like it could increase the city’s coffers fairly easily.

  • @Harold: They also do these pretty regularly in Taraval. From today’s SFPD Taraval Station report: “Taraval Officers Conduct Pedestrian “Sting” at Santiago and Sunset and Cite 14 Drivers for Violating the Pedestrian Right of Way.”

  • Dan

    When I was in Spain (and not to get on the whole us vs. them tirade) the drivers came to a complete stop whenever a pedestrian went anywhere near the cross walk. In complete disbelief I cautiously crossed the street waiting to be run down but I made it across unscathed. It was truly a consistent practice around the country. Why hasn’t it caught on over here? Are their laws stricter and more readily enforced? I think a lot of drivers over here are just clueless that these laws are even on the books.

  • davidk

    Are you kidding? “intimate that the *operation* [italics mine] is a money-making scheme?” Did you see the drivers in this clip? That anyone makes it through this intersection on foot without serious injury is amazing to me. How dare you defend bicyclists against poor drivers and not pedestrians. Shame on you streetsblog.

  • we need this for crack in the tl. seriously.

  • This is great. I could watch this video 100 times.


One of Sacramento's poorest neighborhoods doesn't have enough crosswalks. It also has a high rate of jaywalking arrests. Image: KXTV

What Will It Take for Sacramento to Make Walking Safer in Poor Neighborhoods?

Police and city planners in Sacramento have come under scrutiny in the weeks since police were caught on tape assaulting Nandi Cain, Jr., a black man, during a jaywalking stop. Cain, who was legally using an unmarked crosswalk, has since filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city. Now, reporters are looking into why there are so few marked crosswalks in one of Sacramento's poorest areas.