You may have seen them on the news: dozens of cars take over freeways, intersections and parking lots doing donuts and burnouts. Drivers crash into each other and bystanders get hit. Police aren’t usually successful in breaking them up. They just move to a different spot in the city and start again.
What’s more, street takeover events are often illegal. And while people do gather to showcase their cars, it’s also often a shady scene where gun violence is not uncommon. It’s a niche of car culture that has always crossed with counter culture and anti-establishment ideals, and it seems to have grown in popularity during the pandemic lockdown when people were cooped up at home and looking for ways to express their passion for cars.
It’s also a very complex problem for law enforcement to deal with. Most takeovers occur at night, during times when there are other priority calls that need to be handled. And it’s difficult for officers to safely break up a large mob of reckless drivers who are not fans of police.
In some cities, it’s become so bad that ordinances have been passed that make it a crime to even watch these events. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is now trying to further mitigate the issue with a bill that makes it unlawful for anyone to participate in or coordinate these events. It would also allow police to seize vehicles that are involved in these activities.