Working 4 You: Drag racing app inconsistent caravanning in Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Drag racing and RVing are increasingly dangerous on the streets of Little Rock, forcing the police to try to level the police.
In April, the city council passed an ordinance cracking down on high-speed recreation.
While the order gives police another tool to try and stop drivers, Working 4 You has found records that show law enforcement so far has not always been consistent.
STREETS BECOME RACING TRACKS
The signs of what is happening are easy to spot. Tire tracks cover intersections and parking lots.
Drivers make no secret of their exploits and share dozens of videos online showing cars racing, donuts and drifting.
A video shows a driver adrift in a parking lot as passengers hang out windows with guns, it is titled “Sunday funday”.
People in the city center have a different point of view.
“It’s a nuisance, but it’s also very dangerous,” said Adrian James.
James got to see it firsthand while walking his dogs around their downtown block.
“I saw the car descend very quickly and turn as fast as humanly possible. Maybe nine times, a little more, over and over again. Screaming, squealing, leaving black marks on the road, ”recalls James. “It was broad daylight with the traffic coming.”
James knows this problem gets worse when the lights go out and drivers shift into another gear.
CRACKDOWN POLICE TRY
Little Rock Police declined to interview or comment on this story.
Work 4 You have extracted files showing that the ministry uses patrols from what it calls the “Street Crimes Unit”.
Police records show that law enforcement is not always consistent.
During a crackdown in August 2020, officers imposed 306 trafficking charges while conducting a joint operation with state police.
After that, the number of charges laid each week dropped and stayed that way throughout the year.
Some weekends more than 60 officers are assigned to the patrol, other weekends the number drops to teenagers.
In the reports, officers explain some of the challenges they face, especially when separating one location where drivers move to another.
Several videos posted by drivers online show the officers to be outnumbered, sometimes with hundreds of drivers and just a few officers.
THE CITY HALL INTERVENED
The ordinance adopted by the city targets “intrusion”, “caravanning” and “racing” cars.
Police can issue citations to drivers for these offenses, which can lead to a hearing in the city’s environmental court and result in a fine of up to $ 1,000.
Vice Mayor Lance Hines voted for the ordinance but said he was concerned about the follow-up.
“I think we have enough bite in this ordinance, it’s just a matter of whether or not they can go out and write the quotes,” Hines explained.
He pins it on the ministry’s staffing, the force losing more officers than it brings.
“Having a fully staffed Patrol Division would go a long way in reducing some of these things, but when you’re down as many officers as we are because our recruiting is not followed by our attrition,” Hines said.
Only one city manager voted against the ordinance, Ken Richardson.
“It’s not a deterrent,” Richardson said. “I do not excuse the caravanning. I don’t think that’s something we should be encouraging people to do.
Richardson says street racing and caravanning have been issues in the city’s south end for years, and the fines and citations haven’t slowed down drivers.
“It’s been happening here for quite some time,” he said. “Once they come out of that box and start to move into other parts of town, it becomes a major concern.”
Instead, he proposes that the city focus on long-term solutions.
“We should find alternatives for them to get involved and other things to do,” Richardson added.
He says he’s actively researching possibilities and is currently investigating whether opening a music studio or a racing field might be an option.
SIGNS OF CHANGE
In recent weeks, city crews have erected roadblocks for drivers. Several parking lots that had become popular for drifting now have concrete parking space dividers. The streets often used in the races, now have speed bumps.
It’s a start, but James says he’s seen enough and thinks it will take more than a fine and a ticket to keep it from getting out of hand.
“I wish there was a way to lock down and stop it or prevent it,” he said.