TARZANA (CBSLA) - The Los Angeles Police Department, along with city leaders, said they were going to crack down on street racing who put people lives in danger and disrupt neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley.
Authorities have now launched a special enforcement team to breakup this illegal activity.
The illegal and dangerous sideshows, where drivers engage in 360-degree turns at full speed, draw large crowds, both in person and online. In many cases, video shows that spectators barely avoid getting hit by the cars.
"I have constituents complaining, woken up in the middle of the night by a half-dozen cars going three times the speed limits, screeching around turns in what was otherwise a quiet neighborhood, and this isn't just a quality of life issue. This is an issue of people dying," said Councilman Bob Blumenfield.
Blumenfield, whose district covers the San Fernando Valley, said he is fed up with the street racing.
LA City Council approved his request to allocate $100,000 from his office to pay police overtime in an effort to support specialized enforcement against street racing in his district, which covers Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park.
The councilman said that just about every other weekend there are street takeovers that damage roads, vehicles, illegal events that are putting lives in danger.
According to city leaders, the racing sideshows have increased by 27% in LA, and deaths from the recklessness are way too high.
"The idea behind this motion is to get targeted enforcement and intensity that can make a difference in the West Valley," the councilman said.
LAPD Sgt. Rich Brunson laid out how the street racers go about blocking off intersections and traffic.
"They go and take over the intersection. They'll block off traffic on all four sides of the intersection and you'll have cars going there that are called swingers that are doing donuts and they actually competitions and there are pedestrians out there who film it," he said.
Authorities said more officers keeping watch means less reckless driving.
Some of the funds spent will go toward safety measures like speed bumps, stop signs, speed tables and more, all designed to make sure folks can safely enjoy the outdoors.
"The number of calls per service that are coming out are increasing tenfold. Members of the community are getting sick and tired of being inconvenienced at an intersection," Sgt. Brunson said.
Currently, the most serious penalty for street racing is the impoundment of the violator's vehicle for 30 days, but even that rarely occurs. The additional funding for enforcement will certainly help make a difference.
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