TACOMA, Wash. - Street racing and illegal car meet-ups are taking over Tacoma streets, and city leaders are considering going after spectators in an effort to crackdown on the rising crime numbers.
In the first two months of 2022, there have been 180 street racing-related calls to police in Tacoma, which is a 114% increase from 2020.
For more of a comparison, in January 2020, there were a total of 30 calls to police for street racing. In January 2022, there were 105 calls for street racing.
"It’s just really a shame to see our streets go to such low, lows, and nothing is done about it," said Max Rinehart.
Rinehart lives in Tacoma near South 48th Street and Pacific Avenue. This intersection has been a recent target for street racing, and illegal car meet-ups.
Rinehart says he was woken up to the sounds of dozens of people blocking the intersection near his home, doing burnouts and donuts. Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing happening.
"We hear gunfire, and nothing happens. They speed off, and that’s it," he said.
Cracking down on illegal street racing and related events isn’t easy.
Tacoma police talked about the challenges they face addressing the issue with city council on Tuesday.
Police say they are facing hostile crowds and not wanting to make the situation worse, like what happened back in January 2021.
Police will also not pursue for street racing-related crimes if a suspect takes off.
Tacoma Police also say the city is facing an increase in violent crimes, which takes priority and takes away resources from other areas, like the ability to respond to street racing.
On Tuesday, Tacoma lawmakers discussed several options for addressing the issues, including arresting spectators at these illegal car meet-ups and street racing events.
Spectators are defined as anyone at one of these events, who knew about it, encouraged it, or is affiliated with it.
Anyone arrested could face penalties like jail time or fines.
In the last year, Tacoma Police say they have charged four people with street racing-related crimes.
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