Staged Collision Prevention

May 1, 2002

Los Angeles: Anyone who has ever been involved in a vehicle collision knows they are a traumatic experience for everyone involved. However, how would it make you feel if you discovered a collision you were involved in was not an accident? Some collisions are in fact "staged" and are "criminal conspiracies" involving "numerous suspects." Some common types of staged collisions motorists are exposed to are the "Swoop and Squat" and the "Drive Down." The "Drive Down" is also known as the "Wave On." In the "Swoop and Squat" criminals maneuver their vehicle in front of a targeted vehicle and slam on the brakes. By doing this radical maneuver, the criminals are attempting to cause the targeted vehicle to collide with the rear of their vehicle and create an accident (staged collision) where the targeted vehicle appears to be at fault. The "Drive Down" or "Wave On" involves a situation where a targeted vehicle does not have the right-of-way and criminals gesture or "wave" to the targeted motorist offering the opportunity to proceed ahead of them. When the targeted vehicle proceeds, the criminals purposely drive their vehicle into the targeted vehicle creating an accident (staged collision) attempting to make it appear the targeted vehicle is at fault.
The Los Angeles Police Department suggests the following valuable tips to protect motorists from staged collisions:

If you are involved in a collision on a busy street or highway your first and foremost thought should be your safety and the safety of your passengers. If possible, remove your vehicle from the traffic lanes. Once you and your passengers are in a safe place, exchange information with the other motorist involved.

If you think you have been involved in a staged collision make sure to count the number of passengers in the other vehicle. If possible, get their individual names, addresses, telephone numbers and driver license numbers.

Criminals involved in staged collisions prefer "lone drivers" because "passengers" make good witnesses. Luxury and commercial vehicles are often targeted because they offer the promise of extensive insurance coverage.

Be aware of persons at the scene of the collision who might be potential witnesses. Approach these persons and try to obtain a statement from them of what they saw.

If you suspect you have been involved in a staged collision immediately report the crime to the LAPD. For additional information or to obtain a copy of crime prevention circulars, contact the Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134, or visit our Web site at the "Crime Prevention Tips". Sergeant John Amendola, Crime Prevention Unit, prepared this press release.