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COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) — Street takeovers have become a topic of concern among law enforcement, especially in the city of Compton.
The sideshows are sometimes captured on video, showing cars doing dangerous stunts in front of hundreds of people.
But what’s being done about it? The growing frustration was expressed during a Monday night meeting of the Compton Public Safety Commission, which is now urging the City Council to crack down on the growing crime by increasing the penalties.
“We want them to know that if you come to Compton, we’re going to take your car for 30 days, we’re gonna give you a $10,000 fine and we’re gonna have you arrested for reckless driving. That’s our recommendation to our City Council,” said Bishop L.J. Guillory, chairperson for the commission.
There have been similar calls to seize cars in the city of Los Angeles, but there’s one big challenge: 50% of the vehicles used in the street takeovers are stolen, according to law enforcement officials.
Last week, authorities announced the arrest of 20-year-old Erick Romero Quintana, who is believed to be a prominent organizer of takeovers.
“He is the main facilitator in Southern California. Not just Los Angeles. Not just Compton. We’re talking Riverside County, we’re talking Orange County,” said Sgt. Manny Sanchez with the LAPD Street Racing Task Force.
They say they don’t think he owns his own car, but he does have more than 70,000 followers on social media and has allegedly set up numerous takeovers, many that have lead to other crimes such as smash-and-grab robberies, vehicle thefts and even murder.
“He’s facilitating organized crime. It’s not only just the street racing aspect. You have gang members involved and gang members bring guns. They bring narcotics,” Sanchez added.
Several cars were impounded after police responded to a string of illegal street takeovers in the South Los Angeles and Compton areas overnight.
Deputies assigned to the LASD Compton station responded to about five street takeovers, including one at Atlantic Avenue and Alondra Boulevard.
During a takeover at Alondra Boulevard and Central Avenue, four spectators who were standing at a nearby Arco gas station were struck by gunfire. They were all taken to the hospital and were expected to be OK.
Back in Compton, officials are urging task force members to focus on their city as dangerous street takeovers become a weekly occurrence.
“We’re tired of the lawlessness. We’re tired of the crimes that come after and we’re recognizing that people are making money on these takeovers,” Bishop Guillory said.