Another LA "street takeover" turns deadly

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Late Sunday night, a deadly situation broke out in South Los Angeles and police rushed to the scene. If you’re familiar with South Los Angeles, you probably won’t be surprised to hear this news. It’s a hub of gang activity and people are unfortunately killed there on a regular basis. But this event was quite different from your usual gang shootout. Police were responding to a “street takeover” where people were engaged in illegal drag racing and partying while blocking traffic for many blocks around. But the victim was not killed in a car crash. He was shot dead when the spectators at the event got into an argument of some sort. (CBS News)

One person was dead after a street takeover in South Los Angeles turned into a fatal shooting late Sunday evening.

After receiving reports of a takeover near the intersection of W. Century Boulevard and S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles Police Department officers were dispatched to the area at around 12:45 a.m.

Upon arrival, they were informed by several witnesses that a shooting had occurred in the area and that at least one person was wounded.

If you found yourself wondering ‘what the heck is a street takeover,’ then you’re not alone. I didn’t know either. (It’s hard to keep up with the cool kids these days.) It turns out that these organized street mobs that conduct illegal drag races in the streets of many cities have been growing increasingly common. And they often turn deadly .

Illegal street takeovers have become a common occurrence in Los Angeles that authorities warn can turn deadly.

Takeovers typically involve “flash mobs” of hundreds of spectators and several cars that arrive in a coordinated manner at specific intersections, or even interstates, and blocking traffic to speed and show off dangerous stunts like drifting.

As vehicles turn and screech through intersections, spinning dangerously close to cheering crowds, the stunts are often filmed by onlookers and posted on social media — which police say generates even more interest in the illegal activity.

So these “takeovers” are some sort of offshoot from the “flash mobs” that became popular a few years back. But instead of a crowd in a mall spontaneously breaking out into a coordinated dance routine, these takeovers comprise “mobs” in the more traditional sense. They are completely illegal, block the flow of traffic for everyone, including emergency vehicles, and the racers frequently crash or veer off course into groups of pedestrians.

And when you have that many people showing up to engage in something illegal at the same time, other illegal activities will quickly follow. Businesses are routinely looted while the cars race in the streets. And as we saw in Sunday night’s event, the gangs will often show up and start “taking care of business” on the sidelines.

The linked analysis blames the advent of social media apps for the ability of these mobs to quickly form and overwhelm a neighborhood. I’m sure that’s one part of the underlying cause, or at least it makes things easier for them. But this is also yet another sign of people with criminal tendencies having no fear of the police, particularly in California. Without strong disincentives against lawlessness, illegal activity will flourish, whether you’re talking about mass looting, drug trafficking, or street racing. The solution is more law enforcement resources and the will to put away the criminals. Unfortunately, that still seems to be out of fashion in much of California.