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Phoenix police slow racing takeovers at intersection, shift focus to side-by-side street racing

A year after forming a street racing task force, Phoenix police say they’ve made progress. 

On Wednesday, Cmdr. Derek Elmore told the city’s public safety subcommittee undercover and intelligence work, along with a new city ordinance allowing police to impound vehicles, has made a difference.  

“Our major focus of intersection takeovers has been reduced to about less than 5% of their time and effort because of the success we’ve had from the UC units and the intel units that are involved in that and finding out what the locations are and shutting the down before they happen,” he said.

Elmore said police took 1,700 fewer street racing calls last year and charges are down by 4,000. While large gatherings to watch dangerous high speed maneuvers like burnouts and donuts have dropped, he said the bigger problem now is side-by-side street racing. He explained while showing a video to subcommittee members.

“It can pop up anytime, anyplace. Using our undercover units, which is what’s going on here, right now, they follow those units, get the information that we need, provide resources such as air units and other things and call them into the vehicles, which allows us not to get into pursuits throughout our city,” Elmore said.

He said a city ordinance approved by the council last March that allows police to seize vehicles involved in street racing for 30 days has helped reduce activity and repeat offenders. 

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.