LOS ANGELES—Over 200 spectators gathered to partake in an illegal street race on Friday, September 18 in downtown Los Angeles. By midnight, the crowds scattered when the Los Angeles Police Department appeared. Close to 50 people were cited with misdemeanor charges from taking part in the street racing incident.

According to authorities, officers located street racers on 11th and Mateo Street, in an industrial area of the downtown. LAPD had received reports of large crowds on the streets, and arrived at the scene by 11:15 p.m.. The crackdown has been part of LAPD’s efforts to create safer streets by targeting illegal street racers in the Los Angeles area.

In addition to handling illegal street racing cases, the LAPD task force also has the right to stop people driving modified cars to inspect them for stolen parts. 

On April 14, the Los Angeles Police Department met to discuss solutions to combat illegal street racing. LAPD hosted a meeting led by dozens of law enforcement officials including California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County, and Sheriff’s Department, with local community members in attendance.

The result of the meeting has led to the LAPD’s creation of a new task force dedicated to fighting illegal street racing and alternatives to street racing for the community to take part in. The organization has been set up as the Street Racing and Tracking Task Force. 

With the city’s specialized department dedicated to cracking down on street racing, police still often feel “one step behind” due to organized social media, which allow the community to switch locations at a moment’s notice, says Sgt. Bailey of the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division.

The task force has been operating a little over two weeks. After this event, Bailey reported that officers have issued a total 124 citations and arrested 14 people. Bailey also reported that nearly 50 vehicles had been inspected, with 21 sent to a referee and 11 impounded for stolen parts.