I first became aware of the helicopter car chase during the OJ Simpson trial when I, and millions of other people, watched his car hurtle down the freeway and we all wondered; where does he imagine he’s going to go? WE CAN SEE YOU!
However, being an SF dweller. I had thought helicopter chases were a rare occurrence used for dramatic emphasis in movies or restricted to situations for men who murder their exes and are later acquitted.
But no. Seriously, it’s like baby Blue Thunder here, several times a week.
When I was in SF, the only time I heard a helicopter was when one buzzed by Golden Gate park during a concert, drowning out the musicians. (I’m not positive but I’m fairly certain that helicopter was piloted by an asshole.)
In any case, helicopters do seem extremely effective when chasing down criminals, so I suppose that’s the major upside.
The downside is, of course, they are very noisy.
I’d say I’m with SF on the no helicopter thing*, except that I think SF doesn’t need them in the same way LA does. Regardless of Steve McQueen and “Bullitt”, there’s a limit to how far and fast a car can travel in a city as compact and hilly as SF. Moreover, SF has so many pedestrians that I imagine should a criminal abandon his vehicle, there would be like 50 witnesses watching him wheezing up one its vertiginous streets.
*I was informed by an ex-colleague that SF was very strict about rules re: helicopters and city airspace.