SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The streets of Salt Lake City are less fast and furious after the SLC Police Department conducted an operation to address illegal street racing over the weekend. The operation resulted in six arrested and 11 towed cars.
Starting on Friday, August 26, into the early Saturday morning hours, law enforcement officers saturated areas in the city that have been known to have street racing. Officers discovered information throughout the operation that lead to a speed racing event near 2400 South and 4300 West where Utah Highway Patrol made the six arrests.
Charges involved among the arrests include speed contest or exhibition on a highway, failure to stop or respond at command of police, driving under the influence, reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance, hit and run, open container, and operating a vehicle without insurance.
According to a release from the SLCPD, illegal street racing events across Salt Lake City have enticed hundreds of people, resulting in a variety of criminal activities such as reckless driving, illegal weapon possession, illegal gambling, and aggravated assaults. Police say they saw a dramatic 476% increase in street racing from 2019 to 2020.
Many participants in illegal street racing in Salt Lake City take to the city’s industrial area of the Pioneer Division due to its long and wide open streets. As Salt Lake City industrial areas continue to grow, many businesses and organizations operate 24/7.
SLCPD reported that local businesses have been notably affected by the increased street racing as roadways become overcrowded by crowds that gather to watch, gamble, and cheer. The disruption to operations and distribution of goods to and from the local businesses has resulted in some closing up shop for good.
“Street racing can present many challenges for the Salt Lake City Police Department. Curbing these events requires significant resources – resources the SLCPD does not always have available while simultaneously trying to prevent other crimes and/or responding to quality of life issues for the city’s visitors and residents alike,” the SLCPD said in a release.
Despite the stated challenges, the SLCPD says they will continue working alongside various divisions such as the SLCPD Gang Unit, Investigations Division, Patrol Divisions, and Pioneer Bike Squad as well as the Utah Highway Patrol to mitigate street racing events. In addition to operations such as the one conducted over the weekend, the SLCPD continues to use steel construction plates on select roadways to help prevent them from being used as tracks for speed racing events.