LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — After a street takeover in the Sylmar neighborhood of Los Angeles ended with a car nearly hitting a pedestrian before it violently crashed into a restaurant, local business owners say these reckless gatherings are becoming far too common.
Residents and business owners in the area alleged that city officials and police are not doing enough to stop streetcar racers.
“It’s out of control now, really out of control,” said Jesse Vasquez, who owns El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant. “It used to be once a month, and now it seems like it’s once a week. And it’s bad. It’s bad for the neighborhood, bad for the community.”
Vasquez’s restaurant was heavily damaged over the weekend after a car involved in street racing lost control and slammed into his business near the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Polk Street.
He said he has complained to city officials before about frequent street racing and takeovers at that intersection.
Moses Castillo, a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective who recently worked with the agency’s Central Traffic Division, told NewsNation affiliate KTLA about the challenges police often face when responding to street racing incidents. He said police often try to avoid creating additional hazards by causing a pursuit.
“It’s kind of a give and take, a balancing act,” Castillo said. “Oftentimes what they’ll do is have officers in the perimeter of the take over to capture the individuals who are fleeing or speeding away.”
Business owners are pushing their local leaders and police to do more to crackdown on street takeovers.