ATLANTA — Hundreds of drivers accused of dangerous street racing and stunts have been arrested in a major crackdown in recent months.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has been reporting on the growing problem since the coronavirus pandemic began.
In a news conference on Monday, Atlanta Police Department announced that officers have made 459 arrests related to street racing since late February.
But investigators aren’t pumping the breaks. They told us there is still a lot of work to be done.
“The problem is not unique to Atlanta," Atlanta Deputy Chief Mike O’Connor said.
For months now, Channel 2 Action News has shown wild scenes of large crowds literally shutting down the interstate and busy roads while drivers perform crazy stunts. There are also big cash pots up for grabs.
“We’ve seen the most significant activity in the Zone 2 space, the Buckhead area and coming down into Midtown. Now it’s drifted a little into East Atlanta," O’Connor said.
To combat the problem, APD has dedicated two task forces to crack down on illegal street racing. But for at least one northeast Atlanta neighborhood, there is no peace and quiet on the weekends.
“We’re obviously scared, which is why we want to be anonymous," one neighbor told Seiden.
“You get the sound from the screeching tires when they’re doing the doughnuts,” another said.
“It’s just like we live in the middle of a war zone."
So what are you supposed to do if street racers take over your neighborhood?
“If you have street racer activity near you, please dial 911," O’Connor said.
Seiden learned about the kind of fines both drivers and spectators could face. Drivers could get hit with a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
There is also a city ordinance in the works that could result in cars involved in street racing being impounded for 30 days.
Police said one of the biggest problems with the crackdown is they’re arresting drivers but courts have been shut down because of the pandemic. Police said suspects are being released from jail and going right back on the streets.
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