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TPD and Banner-UMC to raise pedestrian safety awareness

Reflective backpacks aim to reduce deaths among city's unhoused population
Pedestrian crossing sign
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 19:10:10-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson Police Department is making pedestrian death prevention a priority as they partner with Banner – University Medicine to distribute reflective backpacks to Tucson's homeless community on Monday, June 6.

In 2021, Tucson saw 11 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles. So far in 2022, 20 pedestrian deaths have occurred due to motor vehicles. TPD and Banner are specifically engaging with the the city's homeless population because of the demographic's vulnerability when it comes to automobile-related pedestrian deaths.

"Banner – UMC sees the result of what happens when traffic safety is not adhered to. Too often, police and medics are dispatched to fatal pedestrian collisions," said Sgt. Jack Julsing of the Tucson Police Department homeless outreach team. "Many of these individuals are unhoused people that are hard to see and do not have reflective gear or other safety gear that can make them more visible."

Added Julsing, "partnering with Banner in this effort to disperse traffic safety gear to our most vulnerable population was the right thing to do and necessary to promote public safety. Getting our unhoused population educated on traffic safety and providing them with apparel that will help keep them safe is paramount if we want to reduce traffic fatalities and keep our city safe."

The Banner Trauma team and TPD will be distributing the backpacks in the to homeless populations found in areas that have seen the greatest number of pedestrians being struck by motor vehicles: the Miracle Mile, Fort Lowell Road, Stone Avenue, Speedway Boulevard and Oracle Road corridors.

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Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing anne.simmons@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram or LinkedIn.