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Here’s What Police Say They’re Doing to Stop Street Takeovers and Racing In L.A.

According to police, the overall number of complaints about street takeovers and racing from the public declined from 7,654 in 2021 to 4,899 in 2022. Here's what's been working and what hasn't.

10:13 AM PDT on June 14, 2023

photo: Tokyodriver7 via INstagram

The sounds of engines gunning and rubber squealing have caused a nightly cacophony for parts of Los Angeles since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a veritable epidemic of street racing and street takeovers seemed to wash over our freeways and traffic intersections in the last three years.

But just as many of our masks have fallen to the wayside in the last six months, so has street racing, according to a new report prepared for the Board of Police Commissioners, which shows a 36% reduction in takeover and racing reports in 2022.

NBC details how in 2021, the overall number of complaints about takeovers and racing from the public declined from 7,654 in 2021 to 4,899 in 2022, though it is noted that these may not be separate calls but multiple calls about the same incidents.

Still, the police report does counter many Angeleno's suspicions that the problem is growing, including an August 2022 Los Angeles Magazine article that claimed "Street Takeovers In L.A. Are Growing More Frequent and More Violent" in a sensationalistic headline, as well as in other local media reports.

Another finding is that the street takeovers and racing appear to have gravitated into different neighborhoods over that same period, with complaints typically being made about incidents in the Downtown area and around South L.A., which saw a 22% increase in reports.

Whether that means police have merely shifted their attentions from the douchebags gunning their Lambos and Maseratis around the streets of Beverly Hills, Calabasas, and the Palisades to focus on Black and Brown neighborhoods is unclear. It's likely that street takeovers are much easier for police to detect and pin down while also drawing more complaints from neighbors, as opposed to the vastly more transitory racing that occurs across the city.

Police detail the new enforcement tactics they've been directing towards racers and other assorted whip-riding ghosts and Tokyo drifters. The Sheriff's Department, which says there were 169 street takeovers last year, claims to have made over 300 arrests and impounded over 200 cars, while LAPD notes such failed experiments as the "Botts dots" that were meant to keep people from sliding their cars around the street in Compton but were simply pried off the asphalt.

LADOT, meanwhile, found success with small, yellow hardened centerlines in Sylmar, which stop cars from being able to slide around an intersection but also don't disrupt traffic.

Never one to let a good crisis go to waste, the cops are also asking for more surveillance cameras on roads that racers tend to flock to and are considering asking the California Legislature for greater punishments for both drivers and spectators.

Meanwhile, five street takeovers were reported on Monday morning, mostly in South Los Angeles, including those at the Western and Century Boulevards, Normandie and Florence Avenues, and Normandie Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, the crowd splitting once sirens the sounded.

According to CBS, those may belong to a special task force out to catch those participating in and hanging out at street takeovers. With drivers moving locations and conducting the takeovers elsewhere, it sounds like a game of whack-a-mole, only where the targets are strapped with a 175hp shot of nitrous in their supercharged tank.

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