High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
Tampa Police Department is cracking down on pedestrians risking their lives to cross busy streets.
Officers patrolled a number of bustling streets Thursday. They included Hillsborough Avenue, where Norma Velasquez was hit trying to reach her school’s campus. She died from her injuries this past weekend.
Police stopped Xander Britt not far from the spot where that accident happened.
"It's pretty dangerous because cars are always coming,” Britt said.
He knows how risky it is to cross Hillsborough Avenue but takes the chance every day.
"I look at first, but I’m darting across after that,” Britt said.
Police have him a warning.
"Honestly, most people don't even know that they're doing anything wrong. They just simply want to cross the street,” Cpl. Greg Weeks said.
Weeks said people are allowed to cross the street outside of a crosswalk, but it becomes a problem if a driver is forced to break or swerve to avoid hitting them.
“You are allowed to cross mid-block,” he said. “But you can't impede the flow of traffic when you do so.”
We saw multiple people just like Britt dodging cars and even walking in the middle of the street in an effort to cross.
Police are cracking down not just on pedestrians but drivers thanks to a $100,000 grant allowing them to step up enforcement on pedestrian safety. Since November they have issued more than 500 warnings and 900 citations to pedestrians and drivers.
Police hope their efforts will prevent another tragedy like the one last week.
People who are cited have been given a warning before; those fines are almost $70.
Hillsborough Avenue is not the only street police are patrolling. They are also patrolling Busch Boulevard, Fowler Avenue and Nebraska Avenue.