Street takeovers in LA County on the rise and getting more dangerous, authorities say

David González Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Street takeovers in LA County getting more dangerous, authorities say
Law enforcement in Los Angeles County say illegal street racing is a growing problem and they want to see stiffer consequences.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dangerous street takeovers are overwhelming communities across Southern California.

Lili Trujillo Puckett, executive director of Street Racing Kills, says never in her wildest dreams did she think street racing would get as bad as it's gotten.

Puckett's daughter was killed in a street-racing incident in December 2013.

She took part in a forum hosted by the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission on Wednesday to talk about the impacts street takeovers have on public safety.

"A lot of the fatal traffic collisions that we deal with is not so much the drivers that get injured or killed, it's when the cars lose control and go into the bystanders or the spectators," said L.A. County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Downing.

According to LASD, the department has handled more than 3,000 calls for service related to street racing and street takeovers in the last couple of years.

In 2020, they received 860 calls for service. It jumped to 1,380 in 2021, and so far this year they've had 838 calls for service.

Downing said hundreds of cars and people show up to these illegal takeovers and one or two responding deputies are easily outnumbered.

"The best they can do is just try to push them out and crowd control," Downing said. "Trying to get them to leave as safely as we can but we really can't do much as far as enforcement."

The California Highway Patrol created the Street Takeover Taskforce in 2016.

CHP Officer Chris Baldonado said in the last two years they've conducted over 200 enforcement operations.

He said that led to more than 800 arrests, over 800 cars impounded and more than 3,600 citations issued.

Baldonado said people posting photos on social media allows them to identify the illegal activity.

Once caught authorities want to see stiffer consequences, including impounding cars for longer periods of time.

The sheriff's office said street takeovers tend to pick up during the holiday season, so they're working to train more deputies.

Authorities also said movies like the "Fast and the Furious" franchise have glamourized street racing and takeovers, and they see calls for service go up anytime a new movie comes out.