LAPD Cracks Down on Street Racing

by Michael Satterfield

On Tuesday, November 20th, the Los Angeles Police Department outlined new plans to crack down on the street racing and put a stop to the dangerous trend of "street takeovers" that have been plaguing the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles.

The plan will build on LAPD's consolidation of all four traffic divisions under the command of a new single traffic command group, giving the departrment more control and flexibility in their response. The move comes after LAPD completed a report on the current state of the laws and penalties associated with street racing offenses. Councilman Mitch Englander, who has been pushing for stricter penalties, including seizing modified cars, since 2015, also authored the motion that prompted the LAPD's latest action.

Englander told the Los Angeles Daily News. The number one question I get is, ‘Look, they’re putting it out on social media, why don’t we just follow those groups and we’ll know where they’re going to be?’ Well, the fact is that they are going underground a lot more,” Englander said. “They’re closing those groups, they know there are officers joining those groups. They’ve gotten much more sophisticated and so they are not as easy to track and find, and that’s why we’ve got to put the resources toward this.

In response, the LAPD is using data to better identify and track street tracing trends, including social media chatter, allowing them to deploy officers more rapidly to these illegal gatherings. LAPD Commander Martin Baeza points to the September takeover in West Covina, at what was promoted as a tribute to the late 'Fast and Furious' actor Paul Walker. The gathering resulted in the assault of two mall security guards who attempted to break up the event. City Councilman Paul Krekorian called Paul Walker "a criminal who died at 100mph" and demanded that the film and television industry take responsibility for the kinds of films they produce.

I hope that our friends in the film and television industry take some of this to heart. Because that security guard that was getting beaten up by this mob of criminals was being beaten up at a tribute to Paul Walker, another criminal who died at 100 miles an hour at a Saturday afternoon in a neighborhood, and he died, but thank God he didn’t take out a car full of innocent people, as well, in the process, somebody driving their kid home from a Little League game. And these mobs treat him like he’s some kind of hero. It’s disgusting. City Councilman Paul Krekorian said. 

The city council has also approved the installation of rumble strips in known street racing hot spots. The pilot program has been effective in reducing street racing on those streets, however, the groups have simply moved to other parts of the city. Councilman Englander again called for increasing fines, penalties and seizing vehicles in an effort to prevent street racing in the city, a decision that would be left to the full city council.