It was a mostly peaceful event…
On August 4, the official Twitter account for the San Francisco Police Department Traffic Safety-Media Policy (say that 5 times fast) posted a photo of a woman leaning out of a Cadillac’s window while holding an AK-47 during a street takeover. That’s a pretty shocking thing to see, especially if you haven’t been paying attention to these completely lawless events. Some cities have treated those participating in these criminal activities with kid gloves, while others have dropped the hammer, seeking to eliminate street takeovers.
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In this instance, the San Francisco Police Department Traffic Company was able to seize the Cadillac used in the event. They even included a photo of it being towed away. While that’s great they finally did something about street takeovers, there was zero mention of the AK-47 or any arrests.
Police are calling the takeover an “illegal exhibition of speed event” but considering these usually involve doing tons of smokey donuts in the “liberated” intersection and not drag racing, we find that label to be lacking.
Some claim these illegal street takeover events originated in San Francisco back in the 1980s. Others try making the claim it came from some other US city, usually Oakland or another one in California, or a foreign country like Japan. There’s not exactly a history book detailing the origins and evolution of street takeovers, although it has been somewhat chronicled in rap songs. Considering the idea is pretty simple, it’s even possible many bored scofflaws got pretty much the same concept at around the same time.
Ultimately, these street takeovers or sideshows or whatever you want to call them are dangerous, attract more criminal activity, sap police resources, disrupt traffic flow, and give car enthusiasts a bad name. We contend real enthusiasts don’t participate in these events, but plenty of journalists try to lump these criminals in with those who attend car shows and race on drag strips.