Street Racing Increasing Due To Pandemic, New Laws Passed
Street racing is a continued and growing problem across the whole country. In 2019, Dallas law enforcement officers responded to some 4,867 calls about street racing incidents. That number has almost doubled in 2020, with police and DPS officers responding to 8,411 street racing calls.
The Dallas Morning News reports that, in a two-hour-long City Council briefing, Dallas Police Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes told attendees that the marked uptick in reporting illegal street racing is due to multiple events being held in the city during weekends and more people who are at home during the pandemic and are calling in the incidents.
Some City Council members asked what could be done to curtail the street racing events and wanted to know why people were interested in participating or attending them. Deputy Chief Reyes explained that participants gain notoriety on social media sites like YouTube and Tiktok.
“They get cheered on,” Reyes explained. “Certainly, they see that and repeat that behavior. Personally, I’m not crazy about it, but I think that’s what drives these people.”
One of the council members’ suggestions was to make it easier for law enforcement officers to seize vehicles used during illegal street racing events. Another suggestion was to shift more police officers from civilian positions to patrol duty.
More than being harmless events that merely involve engines revving, doing donuts, and other stunts, illegal street racing incidents have also cost lives. Last year, 8-year-old Olivia Mendez was killed when a street racing struck the car she was riding in, and last month, a couple with four children were struck and killed in Fort Worth by an illegal street racer.
Dallas Police Department officials that in addition to street racing incidents being on the rise, homicides, aggravated assaults, and armed robberies have also gone up, so police resources are stretched thin.
Mayor Eric Johnson and the City Council said they would be looking into several options to help enforce the laws surrounding illegal street racing.