Tacoma neighbors fed up after night of chaotic street racing

Street racers descended on Tacoma over the weekend causing mayhem and havoc for the people who live in the city, and it was caught on-camera.

From Friday night into early Saturday morning, Tacoma Police say they responded to 11 separate street-racing related calls.

  • 8:50 p.m. at 700 Middle Waterway
  • 9:24 p.m. at 3100 South 38th Street
  • 9:24 p.m. at South 47th Street and South Oakes Street
  • 9:55 p.m. at South 9th Street and Pacific Avenue
  • 10:30 p.m. at East 72nd Street and East McKinley Avenue
  • 11:13 p.m. at South 84th Street and South Park Avenue
  • 11:35 p.m. at South 84th Street and M Street (This was a call for a hit-and-run. A driver ran into a car full of people. Then the driver took off abandoning the car. This incident happened blocks away from the previous call for street racing.)
  • 11:49 p.m. at 6th Avenue and North Alder Street
  • 12:14 a.m. at 3700 South Tacoma Way
  • 12:38 a.m. at South 72nd street and Pacific Avenue
  • 1:08 a.m. at East 11th Street and East Alexander Avenue

These calls came in with reports of 30 to 50 racers, in some instances, doing donuts, burnouts and even starting fires in the street.

"I see flames shooting up that are about a one-story house high," said Sarah.

Sarah lives near the incident that happened at 84th Street and South Park Avenue. She did not want to use her last name.

She says she and her partner have lived in their home for about two years. She says they love their neighborhood and their neighbors, but are terrified after this past weekend.

"We have a lawless city right now," she said.

During the night, Tacoma Police report no arrests. In a lot of these situations, police move racers along, and they just end up in a different location, police tell FOX 13 News.

The city of Tacoma worked to crack down on street racing about a year ago. The city’s efforts followed a violent incident involving an officer who responded to a street racing meet up, and then ran over several people.

However, even after the effort, it is nearly impossible to enforce street racing laws. 

New state laws, prevent police from chasing after suspects who are wanted for reckless driving.

Tacoma Police also say they will not pursue a suspect if there is any endangerment to the community.


Tacoma to crack down on street racing with proposed law

Tacoma leaders and the community are fed up with issues surrounding street racing in the city. That's why the city is proposing a new law to crack down on the dangerous activity.

This creates a situation where enforcement is only an option if the suspect, involved with street racing, decides not to flee the scene, and pulls over for a responding officer to receive a citation.

"There are no repercussions; my neighbors don’t want to call the cops anymore," said Sarah.

Sarah says the issues are larger than just destruction of property. She says some of her neighbors were threatened. 

Sarah says it has gotten to a point where she is ready to move.

"We are traumatized, deeply traumatized, and tired we’re tired. And something has to change because this isn’t the city that we love," she said.

Despite the challenges in enforcement, Tacoma Police are putting an effort forward to crack down on street racing. 

During the night of these incidents, there was a street racing emphasis unit already out patrolling.

Officials with TPD say they may not be able to use enforcement during the actual incident, but police are working with the investigation division to ID suspects in these street racing meet-ups and follow up with citations and charges.

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