Street racers staged a takeover of the intersection of Zang Boulevard at Beckley Avenue Saturday night.

Neighbor Brenda Allen Wolf first brought it to our attention, reporting that about 40 cars were parked on sidewalks to block off the street. Here’s what she said:

Tonight street racers did a takeover on Beckley from Zang down to Colorado. About 15 vehicles doing donuts and street racing for over 30 minutes starting around 7:30 p.m. The interesting part was another 40 or so cars that were illegally parked on top of sidewalks and blocking streets and the film crews that accompanied them. Well organized with no fear of any repercussions. Yes, we called police multiple times as did our neighbors. They did finally come out, detained a couple vehicles but let them go and issued no citations.

Video taken by my husband. He claims he was safely behind some concrete and steel light posts. However, if you thought he was too close, I did too.

We sent the video to the Dallas Police Department, and here is their response:

The Dallas Police Department is aware of the actions of individuals involved in speed racing. It is a nationwide problem that many police departments are facing. As a result, in 2019 a patrol speed task force was created to address the growing number of racers. Officers issued 23,000 citations, made 400 arrests, seized 13 guns and towed 1,400 vehicles. DPD is working with the City Attorney’s Office to create an ordinance that would address spectators who attend these events. This should serve as a deterrent. We will continue to monitor throughout and police accordingly. We encourage residents to contact law enforcement and provide as much information as possible. If you see something, say something.

City Councilman Chad West also responded (see below) and said he asked the police to put a camera at this intersection. After similar incidents at the intersection of Hampton and Davis in December, DPD installed a sky tower with a camera that officers can monitor in real time.

There are several challenges that DPD faces with street racing, at least one of which Council can help with immediately.

1 – Due to rules of evidence, DPD has to actually witness the speed racing to be able to issue citations/make arrests, so few citations and arrests happen unless DPD can arrive quickly (call 911 as soon as you see this kind of activity ramping up).

2 – DPD has a policy that officers are not allowed to chase cars for traffic related violations. There is a balance here between safety of the community/officers and curbing crime, and DPD has made a policy decision on which way and how far to lean in this balancing act.

3 – Currently, there is not penal code offense for “observing” or participating (other than driving) in these races. **Council is CURRENTLY REVIEWING a draft ordinance that would cite observers of the races. The observers are a big problem, as they give the drivers a forum to show up and break the law. I haven’t viewed the draft yet and frankly have concerns about the breadth of it (what if someone happens to be walking their dog or walking to the bus stop, and gets caught up in the incident?), but I’m open to finding new ways to curb the racing.

In the meantime, I have asked DPD to install a camera at the Beckley/Zang intersection.

If you have suggestions about how DPD can better handle this situation, I’d love to hear them. Please EMAIL my staff, and we’ll consolidate the information and send to Chief Hall and the Street Racing Task Force. Note that I check social media regularly, but DO NOT see every post and comment. ashley.long@dallascityhall.com will collect suggestions and feedback. Thank you!