SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — As arrests are being made in Austin after a series of car-club meetups last weekend that closed down intersections, caused damage to police cars and injured one responding officer, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is taking measures he hopes will bring an end to the gatherings.
A statewide street takeover task force is now in place to handle the rise in what the Governor considers a dangerous activity happening around Texas.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been directed to address the recent street takeovers in several communities that have become increasingly violent and more frequent.
“Despite the foolish attempts by some local officials to defund and demoralize our brave law enforcement officers, Texas is and remains a law-and-order state,” said Governor Abbott. “We must send a clear message that these reckless, coordinated criminal events will not be tolerated in Texas. This statewide task force will work closely with local officials and law enforcement to investigate, prosecute, and prevent these dangerous street takeovers. Working together, we can ensure Texans in communities large and small remain safe.”
“These street takeovers put the lives of Texans and Texas law enforcement officers at risk,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We are seeing fireworks fired at officers in crowds, lasers pointed at aircraft, drivers driving upwards of 130 miles per hour with no lights on in the dark of night—all of it is reckless, and it needs to be stopped.”
The new task force will be led by members of DPS’ Criminal Investigations Division, Texas Highway Patrol, Aviation Operations Division, and Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies statewide.
The task force will focus on state-level investigations that target the organized crime aspect of the street takeovers with the goal of making arrests and seizing assets, including vehicles and weapons.
In many cases, the felony charges associated with these crimes will result in prison time for the criminals responsible.
DPS is also reminding the public to report any suspicious activity when it comes to possible street takeovers through iWatchTexas. Tips can be reported via the website, the free iOS or Android mobile app or by calling 844-643-2251. All reports are confidential.
If you see a street takeover taking place, you are urged to call 911 immediately.