Drivers’ persistence thwarts police efforts to stop summer street racing

As the warm months that see a surge in street racing draw to a close, did the large-scale sting operations designed to curtail the activity (“Fast, furious and fined,” July Park Bugle) have the desired effect?

Sort of, says Sgt. Chris Byrne of St. Paul Police Traffic Enforcement.

“We conducted operations on a half-dozen weekends and had some success, but these people are persistent,” he said. “We break up their gatherings and write a lot of tickets, but they keep coming back. There are sometimes as many as 500 cars and they’re not just from this area. They’re coming from as far away as Rochester.”

Byrne said the police are now trying other preventive measures, such as blocking off the parking lots in which racers like to assemble, or posting police reserves in marked cars to discourage them.

“We’re also using water trucks to wet down the lots, because that way they can’t get traction and they don’t like to get their cars dirty,” he said.

“I’m getting complaints from the Territorial Road/Raymond Avenue area, so we’re going to continue working there. Drivers are running red lights, or, in some cases, using the lights to start drag racing,” he noted.

“There was construction this summer on Shepherd Road, Highway 52 and Highway 280, all popular with racers, which helped us some, but now they’re open.”

Byrne said that a team of officers, in consultation with the city attorney’s office, is studying additional tactics that might be employed next summer.


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