Another potential penalty for street racing in Denver: Police might keep your car.

In 2021, Denver police made 59 arrests or citations connected to street racing, resulting in 21 cases in which a respondent did not get their car back after it was impounded.

Fourteen of the public nuisance abatement ordinance cases resulted in relinquishment of the vehicle via default judgment, because the vehicle owner did not contest the action or never responded to the civil action, police said Thursday in a news release. In seven of the cases, the vehicles were released to a lienholder or lender.

Spring tends to be an unofficial start for illegal street racing, and police say they aim to stop the potentially dangerous activity in its tracks.

Street racing is a safety concern for participants and uninvolved motorists, as high speeds increase the likelihood of serious injury and fatal crashes, police said. Large gatherings connected to street racing result in other crimes, including violence and property damage. In 2021, more than 270 citations were issued for infractions including traffic violations, trespassing, outstanding warrants and felony arrests.

Investigators say a concerning trend in street racing is the involvement of teenagers.

“Street racing is dangerous and those who engage in it could not only lose their vehicle and driver’s license, but risk their lives and the lives of others,” Chief Paul Pazen said in the release.  “Drivers and parents need to be aware that street racing can result in the loss of the vehicle – regardless of who is driving at the time.”

Denver police say they will use the department’s Air1 helicopter to disperse street race gatherings and will coordinate with neighboring jurisdictions to shut down street racing.

At about midnight on June 16, police on Interstate 25 near Broadway stopped a 20-year-old driver going over 100 mph in a rolling speed race on the highway. The vehicle was impounded and the driver was cited for speed contest and careless driving. The vehicle, a 2011 Infiniti G37, was forfeited by the owner under the city’s public nuisance abatement ordinance.

People who witness street racing, or who know of planned illegal events, are urged to report it online at Street racing in Denver can also be reported by calling 720-913-2000, or call or text 911.

People involved in street racing face fines of up to $999, losing 12 points on their driver’s license and having a vehicle impounded for up to 12 months incurring towing and storage fees.

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