Back in June, LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Shannon Paulson warned in a weekly update to the community that “street takeovers” are becoming a big problem for local police. As Paulson wrote on June 25:
“One of the biggest concerns we have seen over the past month or so has been the re-emergence of Street Takeovers within the Wilshire area. I am aware these are happening virtually every weekend at some of our primary intersections. These involve at times hundreds of cars and occupants, arriving in a coordinated fashion at a pre-identified intersection, parking in a manner that blocks the thoroughfare and conducting exhibitions of speed and other dangerous maneuvers (most popular is the circular skidding maneuver known as “drifting”). In addition to being a highly disruptive behavior, it can be dangerous or even deadly. Police intervention of these activities is highly challenging, requires multiple police resources and must be a coordinated endeavor, all of which takes time to facilitate. Unfortunately, the moment the first police vehicle or helicopter shows up on scene, the crowd will disband and head to another location.”
At the time we received this note, many people had not yet run across the pheonomenon, and some may have been left scratching their heads and wondering, “What’s a street takeover…and why are they a problem?” Well, if you’ve noticed a bunch of circular skid marks in any of our local intersections in recent months (as this reporter did at Olympic and Crenshaw not too long ago), you can be sure the problem is here, even if you haven’t seen it in action yet.
If you do want to know what it looks like, though, just yesterday a Buzz reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) was alerted to a street takeover in progress at the intersection of Washington and Western Avenues (in LAPD’s Olympic Division area). The reader captured video of the last two minutes or so of the event, which ran for at least 20 minutes, starting around 4:15 p.m. Police cars and a helicopter arrived a minute or two after the event broke up…but for the duration it could be heard (and smelled) throughout the local residential neighbohood.
“Standing on the sidewalk was scary,” the reader who shot the video told us. “I and a few other pedestrians backed up behind the electrical box. It should have been safe (from that position),” he said. “But it wasn’t.”
In her community message, Paulson said she is working to address the growing problem:
“As some of you may have heard me state at one of my more recent community meetings (via Zoom), I am going to attempt to initiate a warning campaign for the registered owners of vehicles we identify at the scene of these incidents. So, if you are aware of them, are able to photograph or record any license numbers and vehicle descriptions – even just write down the plate, or if you are a business owner who’s security footage picked up the activity with detail sufficient to read license plates, please get those to me. While I can not take legal enforcement action on those parties based off that kind of second hand information, I can contact the registered owners to warn them of the multitude of civil and criminal liabilities involved in that behavior. I suspect there is a strong possibility some of those vehicles are actually owned by the parents of younger participants, so such a warning letter might get some results.”
And on August 7, she wrote again to the community, saying she has begun sending the warning letters to people who own vehicles that have been involved in these events:
“Some of you may recall I have discussed my wish to send “warning” letters to the registered owners of vehicles reported to me as being engaged in the dangerous street takeover activity at some of our major intersections. I got a very positive response from some of our community members who obtained license plates within the last couple of weeks. As a result, this week I sent out the first nine warning letters to all registered owners and legal owners (ie. lien holders) of the vehicles involved. If you see such activity and note the license numbers or catch video or photos, please send them to me. But please, DO NOT put yourself at risk to obtain this information.
In addition, Wilshire Division continues to explore other means of addressing this issue, both in the realm of enforcement activity as well as street engineering options.”
If you happen to see one of these highly dangerous events, please contact police immediately, and – as Capt. Paulson recommended – please report any license numbers you may be able to see without endangering yourself. (We have shared this video, which does show plate numbers, with the local Senior Lead Officer in the neighborhood where it happened.)
These vehicle drivers have no respect for the persons living nearby that have to hear this excessive noise . They are scum in my opinion because they don’t respect their fellow citizens right to a comfortable and peaceful enjoyment of life.
The sad thing about this is that the car community is being blamed for this, even though most of these kids don’t even know what a spark plug or head gasket is.