Opinion: Dangerous street takeovers on the rise in Southern California

SRT Dodge Charger performing a burnout.

SRT Dodge Charger performing a burnout.

Andres Luzania, Staff Writer

The car scene in Southern California has been rising among the youth, mostly due to social media platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram. Most car enthusiasts enjoy filming and doing mostly harmless activities in their cosmetically altered vehicles. Car enthusiasts hold events called car meets – a way to meet new people and show off their builds, which is a completely different story compared to street takeovers.

Street takeovers are usually held late at night in an empty intersection where young people with modified cars gather, slide, and drift around. 

Local takeover in an undisclosed location.

Consequences of these events are major, ranging from felonies to fatalities. The demographic of people who do this are 18 to 20 year olds who are very inexperienced behind the wheel. Street takeovers are a dangerous activity as there are high chances of serious injury or death. Many have died as a result of takeovers – they get hit to death or crash and total their cars. 

“The CHP responded to 25,000 calls regarding street racing activity last year alone. And that was 3,500 more calls than in 2019,” says Doug Shupe, Manager of American Automobile Association (AAA).

2016 Ford Mustang performing a burnout.

Street takeovers are an irresponsible and reckless way to show off cars as there is a high chance of not only injuring the driver, but also innocent bystanders. Most of the time police can’t do much as it is a large group of people who are responsible. For example, when showing up to a scene, many of them scramble, which can be very frustrating to officers trying to find the people behind these events. According to the LAPD’s South Bureau, 102 people have died in traffic-related crashes, nearly a 25 percent surge from the previous year.

Many car enthusiasts believe takeovers are the main cause of strict car laws as many police officers are on the lookout for modified vehicles since they are looked down upon by the law due to their reputation. The car community has been proven to be against these events as they provide a bad look to the actual car enthusiasts who have a passion for showing off their builds in a safe closed track.

2017 Dodge Challenger.

Photo Credits: Andres Luzania