St. Petersburg police crack down on jaywalkers

- St. Petersburg police officers handed out dozens of warnings to jaywalkers Monday, as part of a blitz to reduce the number of pedestrians and bicyclists hit by cars.

"The other night I almost got hit by a car who didn't want to stop," said Patricia Noll of St. Petersburg.

In St. Petersburg, ten pedestrians and two bicyclists were killed in 2015, with 36 pedestrians and five bicyclists dying countywide.

Already in 2016, four pedestrians have been killed in St. Petersburg, and eight in Pinellas county.

"That's really scary. I am really cognizant of watching the cars because I know they are not always watching me," said Noll.

Of course, the pedestrians and bicyclists aren't always at fault, but St. Petersburg Police are pushing to make it so they never are.

"People won't walk ahead a few feet to make it to the crosswalk," said Yolanda Fernandez of the St. Petersburg Police Department. "They will just walk in the middle of the road and think they can do that and that it's safe."

Officers spent four hours on Monday handing out warnings to jaywalkers.

107 people got a verbal warning, and 76 people got written warnings.

The next time they do a safety blitz, they promise to give full-fledged tickets.

"People are complaining that it's too harsh," said Pila Cadena, a St. Petersburg resident. "But it might take just a couple of instances of people getting ticketed to make people more aware It's for everybody's safety."

"I am pretty careful," said Orve Johannson. "I have had some close calls, so I have lived here long enough to know you have to find a crosswalk."

St. Petersburg Police say they've already approached 2,000 people in the last three months to remind them of the rules.

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