The Los Angeles Police Department is scheduled to make a presentation to the City Council Tuesday on its efforts to combat illegal street racing following reports of dangerous “street takeovers” in the San Fernando Valley and some fatal crashes.
The presentation comes after the City Council voted in June to have the LAPD report on all of the city’s current ordinances, laws and fines related to street racing, anti-street racing programs in effect, as well as any suggestions to increase penalties or fines.
Street racing is a decades-old problem in city, but particularly in the Valley, and in recent years has evolved into what are commonly referred to as street takeovers, where a large number of drivers close down a street or intersection while other motorists perform dangerous and reckless stunts.
“These events can not only cause damage to public and private property, but put the participants’ lives in danger as well as spectators, law enforcement and the general public,” Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley, wrote in a motion that led to the LAPD’s presentation.
Organizers typically utilize social media to quickly and efficiently set up such an event, often within private social media circles, which can make it extremely difficult for law enforcement to determine where and when the illegal races will occur.
Englander’s motion followed two reports by the Los Angeles Daily News, which documented several large street takeovers that occurred in the Valley in the Devonshire Division.
The council in 2017 also approved funding for a pilot program to install “rumble strips” on a street in the San Fernando Valley known as a racing hot spot.
The strips were approved to be installed on Plummer Avenue between Canoga Avenue and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, which is often called the “Canoga Speedway” due to its popularity with street racers. The area was the scene of a street racing crash which killed two spectators in February 2015. The driver, Karen Gary Balyn, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
“Rumble strips” are similar to speed bumps, but are much more abrasive to vehicles engaged in street racing, according to Englander.