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'Reckless' | CMPD cracking down on drivers taking over the streets to perform dangerous stunts

This weekend, CMPD issued 15 citations, made two arrests, and seized eight vehicles and one firearm - all in an effort to deter future meetups.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police received several calls about people doing doughnuts and burnouts at the intersection of East Brooklyn Village and South Boulevard. Tire marks can still be seen on the road, and it's just one of several "street takeovers" police have responded to recently. 

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CMPD detectives are also investigating a hit-and-run involving a light pole in connection with the takeover in Uptown. In a statement, the department called the stunts dangerous and said it is taking the unlawfulness seriously.

Officers issued 15 citations, made two arrests and seized eight vehicles in an effort to deter future meetings. CMPD also recovered one gun. 

People who live near the area say it's the second time in about a month a large group has gathered at this particular intersection. They're fed up with the noise and chaos from the dangerous driving. 

"I had so many complaints Sunday morning about all of the noise and the fresh tire marks in the streets," Kena Gilbert, a concierge at The Francis, said. "None of our residents were happy about that at all."

“I heard some tires screech on the road and also heard some racing going down 277,” Mateo Madrid said.

They are both concerned someone will get hurt.

“It’s a total disregard for the people in the neighborhood, for the regular drivers because they cut off traffic,” Gilbert said. 

“What if I walk across the street or walk on the sidewalk and they’re spinning and they go on the sidewalk and they hit me or someone else?" Madrid said. "That's a tragedy that could easily be prevented."

These daredevils have the attention of Charlotte leaders, too. 

"This is crazy, it makes no sense," City Councilman Malcolm Graham said. "It's unlawful and it's dangerous for those participating and watching, and it's annoying to those who live in Uptown."

He said it’s important for police to know when these meet-ups are happening.

“Visibility from our law enforcement and active enforcement when these things occur is top of mind,” Graham said. “This is not the environment we want to create in our city and we need to prosecute those who are involved to the fullest of the law.”

CMPD said Monday it has ramped up enforcement efforts to put a stop to the street takeovers. 

CMPD Press Briefing - February 27, 2023

CMPD Updates on Street Racing in Charlotte

Posted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Monday, February 27, 2023

“In instances where we have an idea of where they are going to be we will be proactive," Maj. Dave Johnson said. "When they pop up in places we were not expecting, then we respond and we have a protocol in place to maximize law enforcement."

Street takeovers aren't a new issue in the city, but CMPD said there are challenges they face in tracking down drivers because they scatter when officers arrive. 

Johnson said they have protocols in place to respond to these takeovers in a safe way.

“These pursuits policies, which are in place to put some guardrail up and help mitigate harm to the citizens and the public of Charlotte, only permits officers to pursue crimes dangerous to life," Johnson said. "These street takeovers and burnouts do not rise to the level of crime in which officers are authorized to pursuit."

He added that many of these street takeovers happen at night, locations change and some involve hundreds of drivers.

“Many of the drivers of these cars are not the registered owners of these cars, nor do many of these cars have the properly licensed plate that is supposed to be on these cars," Johnson explained. 

So far this month, enforcement efforts led to 54 citations, five arrests,11 vehicles towed/held as evidence, one vehicle seized, and one firearm seized.

Johnson said CMPD is targeting street takeovers and street racing groups and is conducting enforcement operations.

“They will have to have their day in court and there are costs associated with receiving a citation, especially one for reckless driving," Johnson said. 

CMPD said it will work with city officials and state lawmakers to enact ordinances and laws specific to street takeovers.

“As we are identifying folks that are participating and folks that are there spectating, our ultimate goal is to cut the head off the snake and get the person organizing this," Johnson said.

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