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Police are taking a zero-tolerance approach to street takeovers and are warning people who organize or participate in the illegal sideshows that they will be subject to citations, arrest and prosecution.
Representatives of the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department held a press conference on May 18 at the corner of Melrose and La Jolla avenues to launch the Temporary Thrills Kill campaign, which calls attention to the dangers of street racing and street takeovers. Multiple street takeovers have occurred in the Melrose District and Hollywood. A staged crash with a Lamborghini sports car was used to illustrate the dangers of street racing. Billboards with anti-street racing messages and images of crashed vehicles will be placed throughout California as part of the Temporary Thrills Kill campaign.
Authorities launched the campaign a day before the release of “Fast X,” the latest film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, because they are concerned about people emulating the speeding and stunts in the movie. Police said every time a “Fast and Furious” film is released, they experience an increase in street takeovers, racing, speeding and reckless driving.
“The CHP wants to remind everyone that street racing and sideshows are illegal, and that these temporary thrills kill. Oftentimes spectators of these dangerous events are the ones who are injured or killed, which is why spectating is also illegal,” CHP Capt. Andrew Poyner said. “Over the next several days, weeks and months, highly trained taskforces will be saturating areas throughout the state including the greater Los Angeles area. These task forces will be canvassing the streets conducting focused enforcement to prevent sideshows and street racing, while looking for illegal modifications to vehicles.”
The taskforces will include CHP, sheriff’s department and LAPD personnel. On May 22, CHP spokesman Chris Baldonado said there were no major street takeovers reported or arrests made related to street racing last weekend. He said it is an early sign the enforcement operations and education campaigns are working.
Authorities stressed that it takes a partnership to address street takeovers because the problem is widespread. Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) attended the press conference and outlined efforts to dedicate more state funding to address street takeovers and to increase penalties for those involved in them. Authorities also highlighted the importance of involving the public in education and awareness campaigns, and asked people to call 911 if they witness a street takeover.
“These illegal and dangerous activities put people’s lives at risk, damage public and private property, and in some cases have even resulted in the death of innocent people,” CHP deputy commissioner Troy Lukkes said. “Since 2015, exhibition of speed and speed contest incidences quadrupled throughout the state. Additionally, over a five-year period, these illegal activities have resulted in 264 crashes. Thirty of them have resulted in fatalities, and 124 have resulted in injuries. To combat this trend, the CHP has been working with public safety partners to keep California safe.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna also warned about the dangers of street takeovers. Authorities will cite spectators and arrest participants and confiscate their vehicles, they said.
“You’re going to get a citation if you’re involved in this. The other factor is you’re going to get your car impounded and that’s going to cost you thousands of dollars to get that car out. Those are some of the consequences we’re talking about,” Luna said. “We’re working collectively more than we ever have before to make sure that we’re communicating and we’re coordinating our enforcement efforts.”
“This is a community issue that endangers lives, young and old, innocent as well as those that are engaged in this reckless activity,” Moore added. “The popularity of movies such as the ‘Fast and Furious’ series and their upcoming latest release, we believe is likely to influence copycats, because of the movies glamorizing this very dangerous activity. We are here to assure you that we will do everything within our power to deter this activity.”
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