LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Street racers beware: New efforts are underway to increase the penalties, including permanent vehicle seizures, against those who engage in takeovers and other illegal activities on the streets.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore is throwing his support behind state legislation that would give local authorities stronger powers to permanently take away cars used in street takeovers. They used to have that ability but a court ruling shut that down in 2008.
"Repeat offenders, people who are engaged in this type of reckless action, who demonstrate the unwillingness to conform to societal norms, lose the privilege to own a vehicle," Moore said.
He's referring to California Assembly Bill 74, which would give judges the ability to permanently seize cars used in street takeovers.
The measure written by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, also puts penalties on spectators of street sideshows and expands the ability to suspend driver's licenses.
"Owning a car in this state, owning a car in this country, is a privilege," Moore said. "You have to act responsibly. And if you can't then you shouldn't have the ability to have either."
Just this weekend, the city's street racing task force broke up eight takeovers and impounded 17 vehicles.
Moore attributes a lot of the crime's popularity to movies like the "Fast and Furious" franchise, as well as recognition drivers can get on social media.
But the price associated with street racing can often be measured in lives lost.
Last year 16 people were killed either driving or watching such events.
And many of the drivers involved keep taking part, like the man accused of driving the car that killed a 24-year-old nursing student last December.
"If that individual is convicted of murder - and I have every reason to believe that he will be - that will be his eighth conviction related to street-racing activity in the county of Los Angeles," said Deputy Chief Donald Graham with LAPD.