Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol cracked down on street takeovers Thursday night across the San Fernando Valley, including one in North Hollywood where 150 individuals were gathered.
The arrests were made by a task force of 14 officers and supervisors from the LAPD and six CHP officers across the valley, according to the LAPD Traffic Division.
The goal was to stop street takeovers – when a pack of drivers block an intersection to perform dangerous stunts, like doughnuts, with their cars.
In total, police officials reported there were 10 takeovers Thursday night, with 31 citations issued, 39 arrests made and 23 vehicles impounded.
The largest street takeover occurred around 9:10 p.m. Thursday at Roscoe Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue with a reported 150 people gathered at the intersection.
The drivers and bystanders arrested at the takeovers have a variety of charges filed against them, including reckless driving, driving under the influence and spectating of illegal street racing.
“It’s a hard problem [to solve] because it’s something we can’t always anticipate when it’s going to happen,” said LAPD Lt. Chris Porter of the Valley Traffic Division. “We try to do as much as we can, but it is a prevalent problem.”
Street takeovers have the potential to quickly turn deadly, both for the drivers and innocent bystanders. In October 2019, a driver fleeing a takeover in Compton struck a group of pedestrians, injuring eight and killing a 23-year-old mother. A year later, a pickup truck in Costa Mesa doing donuts flipped, killing two passengers and injuring another.
“They like to go out and create havoc in the streets, in the intersections, thinking it’s all fun,” LAPD Sgt. Jodie McGee of the Valley Traffic Division said.
“They like to make videos of it,” McGee said. “But the problem is, people are getting injured and killed by these guys … doing the doughnuts. They lose control, they hit the crowd – the spectators that are watching what’s going on. And then what happens, as soon as they hit somebody, they take off. So now you have a hit and run, and if a person’s injured, it could be a felony. So that’s why we’re here. We’re trying to curtail the activity.”
For Porter, one of the biggest issues with tackling street takeovers is the danger associated with it. The police are often outnumbered and deal with individuals with highly modified cars designed to go at high speeds.
At the takeover in North Hollywood, one of the drivers attempting to flee the scene almost collided with a CHP vehicle. The driver was later arrested for reckless driving. No injuries were reported at the scene.
“It’s a very dangerous situation that citizens can be injured at, so it’s just the large scale of it and the individuals are driving motor vehicles that can severely crash and hurt individuals,” said Porter. “Not only officers, but also citizens.”
City News Service contributed to this report.