The city of Garden Grove, California is going on the offensive to tackle street racing and street takeover events. For a month starting in late August, the police department says that it’s issued a whopping 823 citations including 273 over excessive or loud exhausts. It also impounded 28 vehicles and arrested nine drivers suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence. It’s a bold strategy that stands out from other cities in the state.
Police Sgt. Royce Wimmer told the Orange County Register that the operation has been very strategic: “We were seeing certain nights of the week where these car crews — a lot aren’t from our city, but they come to our city… We get complaints and videos… There are some parking lots they tend to use and some of its just police work and seeing a bunch of cars heading into your city.”
The police department is making some pretty big claims too. “To date, #GardenGrove has seen a 79% decrease in fatal collisions, from 2021. This decrease is due to the ongoing education and enforcement from the #AccidentReductionTeam (ART), in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety.” If true, it would be an amazing improvement over the national average.
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Surprisingly, over the course of a month from the end of August through late September and after placing additional officers on night shifts, the Garden Grove Police Department says that it made five arrests in connection with street racing itself. Stroll through its Facebook page and it seems that the focus on street racing has really ramped up since August 5 when it posted about an increase in reckless driving and street racing.
On August 9, the department posted that it had stopped more than 100 cars, issued 84 citations, impounded 8 vehicles, and made five arrests, including three for street racing. The next week it nearly doubled most of those statistics but made no arrests regarding street racing or reckless driving.
Sgt. Wilmer says that “We’re taking a zero tolerance approach to any type of takeover, reckless driving or speed racing. Anything that’s jeopardizing anybody’s safety, we are going to do everything we can to hold that person accountable under the law.”
If these efforts prove to be successful it wouldn’t be surprising to see other departments emulate the program. Nearby city Compton recently spent thousands to install raised bumps at intersections known to be popular street takeover spots but participants haven’t been deterred.