I've seen enough appalling pursuits on World's Scariest Police Chases to know that crooks are stupid. I don't mean stupid for running from the cops because, hey, everyone's got their reasons. No, I mean stupid in the way they go about it. With the number of chases available on cable TV and YouTube, and video games like Grand Theft Auto, you'd figure even the dumbest of perps would have at least the basics nailed down before making like The Juice.
Since this is not the case, I've compiled the following eight handy tips* for all those geniuses who plan on running from the law:
1. Avoid the ghetto bird
These days you can pretty much count on a police chopper dropping down on your ass faster than you can say: "Adios, pig." If you can't tell the difference between it and the local TV news chopper, look for the one flying directly above you with the big spotlight on its nose. Don't be afraid, however, because although they are fast, police choppers are easily thwarted by driving through the nearest major airport.
2. Watch out for spike strips
These are really hard to spot, particularly as you weave in and out of traffic at high speed. They're counting on you being so busy looking at the cops in your rear-view, you'll miss the officer casually standing by the roadside ahead, just waiting to send a razor-sharp row of spikes directly in your path. The tip-off? Cops don't like flat tires, either, so look ahead and prepare for evasive action when the cruiser behind you starts giving you space.
3. Steer clear of the PIT
You've seen it before: Homeboy is giving the pigs all they can handle and then bam, a gentle nudge to the rear corner sends him spinning into a ditch. It's called the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) and it was brought to this country from Germany in the 1970s. Though ruthlessly effective, the PIT is a dangerous maneuver to execute, so cops tend not to do it when there are lots of innocent bystanders around. It is also more effective when the evading car is already turning, so beware if Car 54 stays right on your ass as you hang one down an empty side street.
4. Consider run-flats
A large number of chases end without any police intervention, simply because the evader's Wal-Mart tires blow out from the stress of pursuit. If you already have two strikes, why not invest some of the loot on a set of high-speed run-flats? Dunlop's SP Sport 9000 DSST tires have a range of 50 miles at 55mph with almost no air pressure. Plus, they're V-rated, which means they're good for 130mph when properly inflated.
5. Four wheels good, two wheels bad
Running from the cops on a motorcycle sounds like a brilliant idea-acceleration no police car can match, great gas mileage and the ability to hop curbs and cut through traffic. But the reality is, almost every motorcycle chase ends with the evader plastered to the front of some semi after blowing through a traffic light. Do yourself a favor: park the bike and carjack someone.
6. Drive it like you stole it
Your best chance at evading the po-po is to go as fast as possible. No duh, right? Well, it's not for the reason you might think. Although the average Crown Victoria police cruiser has enough V8 muscle to keep pace with all but the fastest sports cars, you still have a chance in that stolen Hyundai as long as you keep the pedal to the floor. Why? See #7.
7. Head for Downtown
The advent of three strikes mandatory maximum sentencing means that repeat offenders have a lot less to lose by running from Johnny Law. This has resulted in more police pursuits, and subsequently more Spike TV specials. The number of chase-related accidents and lawsuits from innocent bystanders has also increased. To keep their citizenry safe and lawyers' fees down, many cities and counties now have strict rules in place requiring police to call off pursuits when the stakes and speeds get too high. Use to your advantage.
8. Go big or go home
Run a red in a car you 'borrowed'? Pull over. Two million dollars of unmarked bills in the back? Keep driving. The worst part about these chases is when the viewers at home find out that all the guy was running from was a couple of unpaid parking tickets. Take a lesson from the stars of the two greatest televised police pursuits of all time. OJ ran from a charge of attempted murder, Rodney King from a DUI. Which outcome would you rather have? Remember, eventually you're going to get caught and the baritone doing the voice-over is going to tell all of TV-land why you went running. Make sure it's good.
*These eight 'tips' are an attempt at satire and should NOT be taken seriously as the recommended course of action when the police hit the sirens. If you did not recognize this column as a lame attempt at humor, please put down this magazine immediately and pick up something else. I recommend MAD magazine. Or Super Street.