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Newly-installed Botts' Dots failing to stop street takeovers in Compton

Rash of street takeovers continue despite newly-installed Botts' Dots
Rash of street takeovers continue despite newly-installed Botts' Dots 02:47

A recently installed set of Botts' Dots designed to put an end to street takeovers in one Compton neighborhood proved to be a failure as cars flooded the intersection of Wilmington Avenue and Caldwell Street for yet another sideshow Sunday evening. 

Authorities were made aware of a series of street takeovers in the area, beginning at S. Central Avenue and Alondra Boulevard before heading to Wilmington and Caldwell to make a mockery of the new bumps in the road. 

Drivers were in the area for nearly an hour, performing doughnuts and burnouts while circling the Botts' Dots, before Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived. 

No arrests were made in the street takeover as the participants dispersed upon arrival from deputies. 

Botts' Dots, raised pavement markers initially used to mark lanes on highways, are used in instances like these to prevent drivers from burning rubber. The City of Compton ordered more than $4,000 worth of these bumps to place at four intersections most commonly targeted by street takeovers.

The idea has shown success in the past, especially in places like Lynwood and Paramount, prompting officials to give the idea a shot — despite the open mockery from the street racing community. 

"I don't want to make it a you vs. us —  I don't think they're bad people. It's just the young people might be a little misguided — some sound a little entitled," said Compton City Councilmember Andre Spicer last week while speaking with CBS reporters about the installed Botts' Dots. "Unfortunately, the story has been that you go to Compton because Compton won't do anything about it."

The location of the intersection, bordered by homes in multiple directions, has residents and city officials upset with the lack of concern for public safety as street takeovers become increasingly common throughout the Southland. With the uptick in street takeovers has also come a noted increase in death and injury, sometimes related to the driving itself — as evidenced by this fatal crash stemming from a Compton takeover in June — or the people involved, like in this double murder from November 2021 that still hasn't been solved. 

It's not only for the threat that the dangerous driving poses to the public, but also the mob mentality that can often come with it. Last week in Harbor-Gateway, a large group of participants in a street takeover mobbed a 7-Eleven, ransacking the store and taking off with stolen merchandise. In April a group involved in a takeover in San Bernardino looted a semi truck carrying furniture.

Employees at the gas station on the corner said that the takeovers have been just as frequent as ever, sharing video of an event that happened just 24 hours earlier than the one on Sunday. 

Residents are calling for more action than just the Botts' Dots, since on most occasions the drivers just disperse from the area without further consequence. 

"They put these little things here and they still come by," said Stevie Renfro, who lives close by but has started to sleep at his other property on the weekend due to the disturbance caused by takeovers. "Put a helicopter in the sky, follow that car, impound that car!"

Despite the failure, this reportedly isn't the end of efforts by city leaders to put an end to these sideshows. 

Cheryl Thomas wants them to work creatively with the people partaking in the events to come together on an agreement that works for everybody. 

"I understand the young people. I've been young" the Compton native said. "Let's come to an agreement where you guys can do what you want to do to blow steam off."

Los Angeles County officials have also had a much larger version of these Botts' Dots installed on the 6th Street Bridge, another popular location for street takeovers.  

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