Request Sheriff’s Dept., Public Health
The Board of Supervisors is calling on a host of county and other agencies to hold a community symposium on street takeovers.
The motion by Supervisor Holly Mitchell calls on the county Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works, Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, the District Attorney’s Office and other organizations to take part in a meeting no later than Feb. 28, 2024, then report back to the board with recommendations for addressing the issue.
Street takeovers have been a growing problem across the Southland, highlighted in July 2022 when the Sixth Street Viaduct opened near downtown Los Angeles, leading to an almost immediate surge of dangerous stunt driving and vehicle takeovers on the bridge.
Mitchell’s motion suggests participants in the symposium consider proposals such as providing secure permanent closed tracks, separate from public streets, for street performance activities in communities most impacted by illegal street racing and street takeovers. She also suggested infrastructure improvements to curb street takeovers, along with an examination of whether land use encourages street takeovers.
The county’s existing street racing ordinance, which makes it a misdemeanor to be a spectator at such events, includes penalties including fines of up to $500, imprisonment of no more than six months in jail, or both.
The motion calls for participants at the symposium to recommend possible changes to the ordinance, including potential increases in penalties, and whether penalties can be assessed against street racing spectators who post on social media. The possibility of working with social media partners to remove posts that include such illegal activity from their platforms would also be discussed.
Though dangerous street takeovers and sideshows can lead to deadly shootings, fatal car crashes, and property damage, the county’s ability to address the issues is limited in unincorporated areas, according to the motion. The California Highway Patrol enforces speed limits and the Sheriff’s Department breaks up large gatherings, while the Department of Public Works deploys infrastructure solutions.
On Sept. 7, 2022, the county Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission conducted a virtual conference with law enforcement, local experts, and nonprofit organizations to discuss the dangers of illegal street racing and reckless driving. Though the resulting report was not adopted by the COC, it addressed the need for a plan to address illegal street takeovers with a comprehensive approach that goes beyond punishment.