Longmont knows of numerous reports of illegal street racing as law enforcement struggles to catch runners
While lying in bed at night in his home on Terra Rosa Avenue, Bob D’Alessandro can hear the low rumble of car engines slowing down to a stop at a traffic light. Within seconds, the sound of the engines explodes as drivers accelerate and take off through the streets of Longmont.
“Every night – literally every night when it’s dark – after 9pm and until midnight,” D’Alessandro said. “You can hear it on Ken Pratt (Boulevard). I can hear it from Hover (Street).
In recent months, the Longmont Public Security Department has received complaints about cars driving at high speed on popular city streets.
“Just myself, I have received many emails from residents complaining about street racing,” said Longmont Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur. “It’s been picking up speed for a little while. I’m thinking (because of) COVID, and people are looking for other things to do. I think we’re starting to see more people coming out.
Satur said he did not have the data to show how many arrests had been made in the past year in connection with street racing in Longmont and that he was not sure there were any. had.
Satur said that between 11:30 p.m. on June 4 and 12:30 a.m. on June 5, a sergeant from Longmont responded to an incident at the Twin Peaks Mall after about 1,000 cars entered the city.
“I just know the sergeant closed a lane to limit their ability to run,” he said. “I think they went south of the mall.”
The Longmont Department of Public Safety is just one of many other law enforcement agencies, including Boulder County, which has joined a task force against illegal street racing in Colorado.
Satur said that in addition to the task force, the department will occasionally have additional staff working at night. But not only are runners difficult to catch, the time they are running is usually the busiest time for the department.
“It’s so mobile, and communication (for runners) is so easy these days because of social media,” he said. “It’s difficult for any department. Longmont has 340 miles of causeway. If we have 15 or 20 cops working, there are still a lot of other roads in our city.
Sgt. Jason Shatek, of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, said Superior dealt with high-end cars flooding the parking lot at Whole Foods Market a few months ago.
“They liked to meet at the Whole Foods there, and the city got involved and the parking lot owner put up no trespassing signs,” he said. “Most of it was just noise.”
Satur said he knows some Colorado cities are getting stricter in how they enforce street racing, and some are considering enacting vehicle seizure laws.
“Drag racing is a 12 point violation,” he said. “If you end up killing someone, felony charges can be brought. The penalties can be quite severe. Not to mention the loss of your car.
From March to May of this year, Longmont City Council member Marcia Martin received 14 emails from area residents worried and angered by the ongoing street racing. Among those emails was one from D’Alessandro.
Martin said he recently met Dixon Dick, CEO of Archethought, which works with “smart cities” initiatives to monitor noise levels at concerts in Longmont.
While it is a long-term goal to ease street racing, Martin said she spoke with Dick to see if anything can be created to stop street racing.
“I imagine a system where not only would smart city automation detect noise violations, a noise violation could trigger a flash (from a camera), then a quote could be sent, just like a speed violation. can be sent now, ”she said. mentionned.
Martin said she recently shared the police department’s post regarding street racing on a Facebook group aimed at Longmont residents. She said two-thirds of people in the group did not take the problem seriously. In order to contain street racing, residents must take action and report them, she said.
“I think we need to combine this with some kind of public awareness campaign that highlights people who are not passionate about cars (who) have the same rights as people who are,” he said. she declared. “You can take your car racing elsewhere,” she said.
There are locations for legal street racing all over Colorado. More information can be found at reportstreetracing.com/default.aspx?menuitemid=241.