Kent Police arrested 22 people for investigation of second-degree criminal trespassing during a crackdown on illegal street racing.
Kent officers joined with members of the Renton Police Department and Washington State Patrol to make the arrests Friday night, May 11, on the industrial streets and parking lots at the north end of the city.
Officers impounded 17 vehicles. Ten additional vehicles were left behind.
“For some reason, they didn’t want to come back to their cars,” new Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said during his public safety report Tuesday to the City Council.
Padilla said more emphasis patrols are planned this spring and summer.
“The objective of the emphasis was to persuade persons from actively promoting, participating or attending illegal street racing events in the city,” Padilla said. “Over the years these events have not only resulted in injury and fatal collisions but there have been associated crimes such as robberies and shootings. It’s much more than just kids racing. It is a big deal.”
Racers have used the Kent streets for about three decades. The straight, flat and empty streets late at night make a good course for vehicles to race side by side.
“This was a great first strike if you will,” Padilla said. “We very much want to let everyone know that we are going to continue these emphasis patrols. My message to would-be racers is – not in Kent. This isn’t a police department that is going to sit by and let you continue with criminal activity. We are going to be out there.”
Kent Police have tried to stop the racers for many years. In one of the largest crackdowns, 112 people were arrested in 2008.
The city of Renton on the weekend of May 11 began to close certain streets in an effort to stop the racing or at least move it to another city.