Homeland Security Now Combating Street Takeovers


homeland security now combating street takeovers

Homeland Security was reportedly involved in stopping a street takeover in Conroe, Texas, after a prior event became violent when the police arrived. The takeover occurred in the wake of the Lone Star Throwdown, a truck-focused automotive meetup, with organizers complaining about the trend in the aftermath.

According to The Drive, news about the takeover started circulating even before the Lone Star Throwdown had concluded. A subset of attendees were planning to block off a stretch of road as people were leaving on February 25th and the organizers were worried that it would reflect badly on them. There were rumors that the contract for next year’s show was at risk of being canceled as a result of bad actors. Noticing vendors from the show were complaining via social media, the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management arranged a meeting with promoters for March 6th.

From The Drive:

In the meantime, support for the show poured in from everywhere. Vendors and longtime fans of LST petitioned law enforcement to allow the 2025 show to go on as planned, giving specific details of how the event isn’t the problem—the people involved in the takeover are. A podcast interview with showrunners Lonnie Ford, Todd Hendrex, and Jarrod Dunahoo was posted live early this week, discussing the situation.

“Nothing happened at the event,” Hendrex said on the C10 Talk Podcast. “The event went smoothly. To sit here and say we had almost 30,000 spectators, that is crazy.

“We grow with the show and make changes as we go along. Nothing happened at the event,” Hendrex continued. “The things that are out of our control, that are having our contract pulled from us is the after-meet, the after-parties, the takeovers — whatever you want to call them. I’m not saying it’s wrong to go meet in the parking lot; we’ve all done it our whole life. But the body cam footage I was able to see from some of these officers made me mad.”

The footage Hendrex is talking about allegedly shows people stealing mobility karts from a local Kroger, putting their hands on officers, and serious property destruction. Burnouts carried on past the pavement and through the businesses’ landscaping, obliterating more grass and greenery than black tire rubber. There were also people urinating on patrol units and attempting to free an individual who was in custody from the back of the cop car.

One could argue that street takeovers and illicit behavior have long been an essential part of automotive culture throughout history. Drifting never would have become popular had Japanese fans not bothered to block access to ensure drivers could make clean attempts on public roads. American drag racing was likewise limited to the streets until someone realized there was money to be made in building private strips. But modern street takeovers are typically defined by pure spectacle and unbridled stupidity.

They can go beyond your typical automotive hooliganism by blocking off busy intersections in the middle of cities so attendees can perform donuts and burnouts. These are hardly structured events and often devolve into large numbers of people showing while violent confrontations between commuters and individuals trying to block the road take place in the background. Stunts may also incorporate people riding atop moving vehicles or seeing how close they can get to the action to take video. But these aren’t structured events even in the most abstract sense, with there being a surplus of video evidence showcasing serious injuries and vehicle collisions.

Worse still, things can continue to decline when police arrive. Drivers often attempt to flee and crowds sometimes attack squad cars until officers decide to retreat. Both have resulted in large numbers of people being struck by vehicles, including police cars, sometimes fatally.

Despite originally being a counterterrorism agency formed in the panic following the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001, Homeland Security has become a catch-all federal policing agency. These days it’s stated purpose “covers everything from counterterrorism to the Nation’s maritime and border security, from protection of our national leaders to coordinating the federal government’s response to natural disasters.”

While it’s inarguable that there have been street takeovers so egregious that they likely necessitated aggressive policing, the general response from authorities has been to pursue a zero tolerance policy. Lesser events set further away from the public are being treated with the same level of scrutiny as the worst examples. Now we have federal agencies getting involved.

Lone Star Throwdown reported a productive meeting with local Homeland Security agents and said they were able to secure their contract for 2025. However, the agreement came with the caveat that there will be absolutely no tolerance for hooliganism or illegal activities. It’s assumed there will be a heavier than usual police presence to ensure that remains the case.

Frankly the LST takeover was a middling example based off the available video evidence. It’s probably not something you’d want to see a lot of in your own neighborhood and there was some isolated violence. But the automotive carnage (mostly burnouts) was primarily limited to nearby parking lot and the situation never saw the kind of mass insanity that one normally thinks of when they hear the term “street takeover.”

“I get that the outside community, when they look at it as a whole, [they believe] they’re there because of us, which I get. But they’re not,” Hendrex said. “When I scoured through all of the videos, we only found three to four who had [event] registrations that were doing stupid stuff.”

Navigating this aspect of car culture is going to be a difficult tightrope for everyone to walk. Event organizers and vendors need to look like they’re not throwing their customers under the bus while also appeasing local communities that are likely to look down on them. Meanwhile, the police need to find some way of preventing the worst kind of street takeovers without taking a scattershot approach that ropes in every person that squeals their tires. Automotive enthusiasts already have a contentious relationship with the police and the cops are going to need their help to discourage bad actors if there’s any chance of reducing the severity of takeover culture.

[Image: Eli Glover/YouTube]

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