Sideshows, street takeovers, call it what you will, they are increasingly becoming a common nighttime crime in the Los Angeles area. Maybe even in your area? But law enforcement has had enough. It has announced that it will confiscate all the cars involved in a pick-up, whether they are participants or spectators.
What did the police do about taking over the Sixth Street Bridge?
The recently completed Sixth Street Bridge downtown has been hailed for its design and for opening up Boyle Heights downtown. It replaced the previous art deco bridge, beautiful and famous as it was, after it was destroyed. But almost immediately, crowds and cars gathered as smoke billowed from making donuts from one end of the bridge to the other.
The crowds screamed and hollered and barely missed being hit on several occasions. “We really want to stop this from becoming a new trend where they think they show up and take over a street or a freeway or some part of the city,” LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno told Fox LA11. “That they’ll just be able to do whatever they want. Cars will start disappearing very quickly.” The bridge is now closed indefinitely to all vehicles.
Do road takings cause overall crime to rise?
The LAPD says there are other problems coming up besides making donuts in the middle of the street. Recently, violent crime has increased dramatically around these purchases. A teenager was killed in a raid, according to Moreno. And a 7-Eleven was robbed and an employee was assaulted during another show. “Some takeovers are moving to a more gang-type attitude,” Moreno said.
These acquisitions have evolved from traditional street racing, although this continues as well. But there must be a legal place for these illegal street activities. This is why there was a proliferation of drag strips in the Los Angeles basin in the 1950s and 1960s.
What did LA do for street racing in the 1950s?
At its peak in the late 1960s, there were about 10 quarter-miles of drag spread between Fontana and the San Fernando Valley. And still, more go south to Carlsbad and San Diego, and north to Bakersfield.
They have since been replaced by housing or industrial complexes due to rising land values. And as those strips make way for homes, street racing has increased. There must be a way to have sanctioned meetings in parking lots or temporarily converted airfields. That’s how early bars like Santa Ana and Santa Barbara started in the early 1950s.
But in doing research for this post, there is no hint that anyone is considering such an effort. So what happens is the laws get tougher and cities spend money to stop that from happening. Like recently in Compton, California.
Compton thinks he has a solution
Compton has started using Botts Dots, the raised round plastic-looking bumps you see on the freeway and in parking lots. Placed in “X” patterns at intersections, it is hoped they will end the problems. Unfortunately, shopping will simply be moved to neighboring Long Beach or Torrance. This is simply throwing the problem over the fence to the next town.
Police say that before this new change to impounding cars, they would normally take about 10 participating vehicles. But now, these numbers should increase significantly. It is a legal escalation to combat sideshows. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if a legal, sanctioned event with rules and safety checks took place instead?
RELATED: Should You Be Worried About Illegal Takeovers in Your City?