Police continue to crack down on illegal street racing in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Only Action News Jax has obtained internal emails from the city and JSO that show both have been aware of the street racing problem since at least last year.

Numerous videos on social media show street racing and car clubs swarming Jacksonville roads. It’s a problem JSO and city leaders recently publicly vowed to put an end to.

RELATED STORY: JSO makes four arrests following illegal street racing in Baymeadows

“You’ve got people who have homes, coming off work, churches around here. People don’t know that this stuff’s happening and when it does, they get scared, they start fleeing. You don’t know who’s gonna get run over in the dark because they’re driving around with no lights on,” District 2 city councilmember Al Ferraro said.

But emails within JSO and the city indicate both have been aware of the issue since at least 2021.

In April of 2021, one JSO employee emailed a link to a YouTube video -- speculating that the group travels around Jacksonville and discussed putting an end to it.

In November, the Southeast Citizens Committee held a meeting where JSO’s assistant chief directly addressed their continued concerns over street racing.

And in December, Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted he’d spoken with JSO and would not be tolerating the issue.

Action News Jax pulled the enforcement numbers. In December, law enforcement issued six felony charges for reckless driving or racing-related crimes. But in that same period, there were 458 calls for service and 911 calls for the same thing.

Yet, in the last two weeks, JSO has made 11 arrests. The agency says it has issued multiple notices to appear, impounded 10 cars, and written more than 200 traffic citations.

STORY: How a local woman escaped sex trafficking in Jacksonville and her warning to parents

Action News Jax has asked JSO what spurred this most recent crackdown and arrests for street racing, given that the agency has been aware of the issues since at least last year. We’re waiting to hear back.

“They did an excellent job getting guns and drugs off the street, getting these citations. Hopefully, people will see that Jacksonville is taking it seriously,” Ferraro said Monday.

Ferraro says JSO put up two helicopters this past Saturday to watch over the city. He was up in the air during a crackdown and says they plan to go after the groups’ leaders.

“There’s a construction site. There were cars running through the gates, going through the construction sites,” he said.

Ferraro says city council is talking with investors to open up a drag strip where people can race — legally and safely. One has already been approved for Callahan in Nassau County.

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