Kent Police made 75 arrests and impounded 37 vehicles during a crackdown on illegal street racing in the spring and summer that seemed to finally reduce the number of racers.
“We definitely put a dent in illegal street racing and we will continue to address this issue,” Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell said to the City Council during a Sept. 18 Public Safety report. “The message we want to put out to the illegal racers is we take this seriously and will do everything in our authority to stop you.”
Officers conducted four emphasis patrols over the summer months in the north Kent industrial valley that has attracted racers for decades because of its straight, long, flat streets that are typically empty late at night on weekends. Drivers use the streets to race side by side. Police also worked with local businesses to get trespass agreements (banning people from the property) as racers will gather in the large parking lots.
Most of the arrests were for second-degree trespassing, Kammerzell said. Police made 22 arrests during an emphasis patrol in May, the first of the four crackdowns. The installation of speed bumps also helped reduce racing, Kammerzell said.
“As we did each emphasis event the amount of racers present decreased at each one,” Kammerzell said. “By the time we did the fourth emphasis, there was a very low racer presence and it became somewhat difficult to find racing events in Kent, so that’s really good news.”
Kent Police worked with other agencies to conduct the patrols, including the Washington State Patrol and Renton Police. The city of Renton in May began to close certain streets late at night in an effort to stop racing.