Kent Police plan to bring in additional resources in an attempt to impact the recent increase in illegal street racing in the city.
Police released a statement May 25 to remind the illegal street racers and their spectators that it is a crime to participate in and attend illegal street races in the city of Kent. The statement didn’t detail what extra resources will be used or how the department plans to enforce the laws.
“While it’s common knowledge that it is a crime to participate in illegal street races, what many people don’t realize is that it is also a crime to gather and watch illegal street races,” according to the police statement.
City code makes attending an illegal street race a misdemeanor under unlawful race attendance.
“That means you will be seen at our City of Kent Municipal Court,” according to police. “If you’re found guilty, you will then be given a SOAR order, (Stay Out of Areas of Racing), which states you can be arrested or charged in the future for gathering in any location well known for racing in our city.”
That list (see below) is lengthy because illegal street racing has been going on for decades in many locations across Kent. The racing and gatherings pick up during nice weather late at night in the spring and summer.
Hundreds gathered and five men were shot and injured during an illegal street racing event May 21 at the intersection of South 180th Street and East Valley Highway. Police have not made any arrests for the shootings.
“Yes, it is a crime to watch the illegal races, and yes you will be charged if caught,” according to police. “But there are other very compelling reasons to avoid illegal street racing. Kent experienced those reasons this past weekend. Bystanders are hit by drifting vehicles, people in the crowd are armed, fights break out and weapons are brandished or used, injury accidents occur. Real spectators have been shot and run over.”
Police said bystanders are the most at risk and most vulnerable persons at an illegal street race. It’s not safe to just watch.
While current state laws make it difficult to physically arrest the participants in illegal street racing, Kent Police said they have a long history of developing cases, arresting and prosecuting illegal street racers, and race organizers.
Kent no racing zones
1. 54th Avenue South from South 228th Street to the end of the road at the 22500 block.
2. 58th Place South from Russell Road to South 194th Way.
3. 59th Place South from South 212th Street to South 199th Place.
4. 62nd Avenue South from South 199th Place to South 190th Street.
5. 64th Avenue South from James Street to South 212th Street.
6. 72nd Avenue South from 220th Street to South 180th Street.
7. 76th Avenue South (signage reads 76th Avenue) from South 228th Street (signage reads 228th St.) to South 212th Street.
8. 80th Avenue South from 196th Street to South 180th Street.
9. 85th Avenue South from South 202nd Street to South 198th Street.
10. 87th Avenue South from South 208th Street to South 198th Street.
11. 89th Avenue South (signage reads 89th) from the 20400 block to South 198th Street.
12. South 180th Street from 68th Avenue South (West Valley Highway) to 84th Avenue South (East Valley Highway).
13. South 190th Street from 62nd Avenue South to 68th Avenue South.
14. South 194th Street and 58th Place South from 66th Avenue South to Russell Road.
15. South 199th Place from 59th Place South to 68th Avenue South (West Valley Highway).
16. South 202nd Street from 84th Avenue South (East Valley Highway) to 89th Avenue South.
17. South 226th Street from 54th Avenue South to 64th Avenue South.
Source: City of Kent