AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora Police Department has a message for illegal street racers: “We’re coming after you.” From blocking traffic on interstates to big, destructive burnouts at racing meetups, the Aurora Police Department is fed up. So, they are taking more steps to crack down on illegal and often dangerous activity.
“People are getting hurt, cars have been crashed,” said Agent Matt Longshore. “We’ve heard complaints from our community that also complain directly to council, so we’ve had council requests wanting to address this metro-wide issue that is affecting our community.”
Over the weekend, Agent Longshore and other officers went to a handful of known racing spots – which they find using social media, police analysts and the statewide system that tracks the issue, Longshore explained. Officers were able to break up four street racing meetups, likely preventing damage to local businesses.
“Street racing, people think it’s just up and down a roadway,” Longshore told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We’re talking about people who gather in these parking lots that want to do burn outs and donuts, and cause damage to the parking lots.”
One of the problem spots, he added, is the Aurora Mall. Longshore said police have found street racers there doing burnouts and causing costly damage to the parking areas.
“They may say, ‘oh, it’s just on the asphalt’,” he said of the illegal racers, “but we’re talking about restriping, repaving the parking lots and it can be expensive.”
Of even greater concern, however, is how quickly these gatherings can turn violent.
“There’s a video that someone posted on our Twitter last night that shows just before we pulled up that there’s probably a group of four or five people with guns that are seen just recklessly shooting these guns into the air,” Longshore said.
Longshore was riding with a traffic commander, he said, when the shots were fired. It was at a warehouse property near Airport Boulevard and Smith Road. He said firecrackers were used, too.
“The gunshots are real, the dangers are real,” he said. “This isn’t fun. This isn’t games. This is people’s lives you’re putting at state, people’s property. Your dangerous behavior is not welcome.”
Combined with the department’s traffic unit, Aurora Police is working to develop a street racing task force to curb the growing problem. Longshore said he wouldn’t be surprised if they start partnering with other metro area agencies, too. Law enforcement wants their message heard loud and clear.
“We’re coming after you. Whether it’s your car or whether it’s through a summons, this has got to end,” Longshore said.
One thing helping officers with their crackdown is an ordinance passed last summer in Aurora. It allows police to seize vehicles repeatedly used in illegal street racing. The owner is then responsible for towing fees and is issued a court summons.