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Local law enforcement agencies introduce alternatives to street takeovers in Irwindale

Officials work to crack down on street takeovers, provide drivers with safer alternatives
Officials work to crack down on street takeovers, provide drivers with safer alternatives 02:10

In an effort to curb the growing problem of street takeovers plaguing the Southland, local law enforcement agencies and city officials have joined forces to try and provide safer options for those who feel the need for speed while behind the wheel. 

The crackdown continued Thursday in Irwindale, where those city leaders held a press conference where they detailed the latest in their attempts to keep the streets safe, announcing a program at the Irwindale Speedway, which would allow drivers to burn rubber in a safe and controlled environment. 

For just $20, drivers could hit the track and legally flex their vehicle's horsepower. The speedway has been an alternative for drivers for years, but as the frequency of sideshows continues to increase, they're hoping that they can divert some people in the right direction. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva noted that the cost for entry is well under the cost of a ticket coming from a sideshow, even the spectator tickets they've handed out to people just watching the events in the past. 

At the press conference, officers continued to echo their zero tolerance policy for the illegal gatherings, detailing that in the last eight months alone, six months have stemmed directly from sideshows. 

"Culture shifts over time," said Villanueva during the press conference when asked why he thinks there has been such an increase in frequency. "You have the pandemic, you have people that were bored, locked up at home for a long, long time."

The repeat incidents have taken over streets in nearly every Southland community, including the newly-unveiled 6th Street Bridge, where things got so bad that officers had to shut down the road overnight until they could get a handle on things. 

Officials have tried a series of methods to prevent takeovers, including the installation of Botts' Dots at popular intersections, and several agencies have task forces entirely devoted to stopping the events before they begin. 

Even so, some people believe that there still isn't enough being done, with intersections around the city marred by tire marks and debris from vehicles partaking in the dangerous stunts. 

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami called upon the Board of Supervisors at the press conference, where he referred to "leaders who don't want to do things." 

"No one should lose their life to something that is 100% preventable," said Lori Argumendo, who works with Street Racing Kills to try and raise public awareness about the dangers associated with the events. She lost her niece Bethany in 2019 during a crash at a takeover.

Most recently, dozens of protestors gathered in Angelino Heights, where they called for filming on the wildly successful "Fast & Furious" franchise to stop filming in their location, believing that the series glamorizes street racing.

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