If it seems like there are fewer street takeovers happening lately, an LAPD crackdown operation might be the reason.
For over two months, officers in the South, Central, West and Valley traffic divisions have prevented or interrupted large crowds from holding intersections and streets hostage for periods of time, while they perform car stunts. The emphasis so far has resulted in more than 850 citations being issued, and almost 200 vehicle impounds.
“It’s about enforcement and education,” said 77th Street Station Capt. Hendley Hawkins, who has been presenting the information to local neighborhood councils.
Hendley said that task forces were assembled in July to decide the best way to deal with the problem, which has soared this year. In the four areas, which have been most affected, the increase in takeovers from 2021 ranges from 12-164 percent.
The spring and summer saw several bystanders hurt or killed, which heightened concerns and caused many residents to call for help.
“There was such an outcry,” Hendley said. “There was a shooting at one of the street takeovers, and at another, a young lady was struck by a vehicle.”
The task forces decided that prevention was the best method.
“The South (LAPD) traffic division has the lead, and each division provides two officers, and we go from there,” Hendley said. “They (watch) social media, where there is the information about the gatherings. Then they show up a half an hour before, and prevent the participants from taking over the intersection.”
Hendley said police have been pleased that they’ve been able to prevent many takeovers. At the same time, he recognizes that LAPD’s emphasis is not a long-term solution.
“Kids do need somewhere to gather, and display their cars legally,” he said.
Jacy Hanes is a freelance journalist for 2UrbanGirls.com.