Midtown residents frustrated over ongoing street racing problem

The Atlanta Police Department announced on Monday 459 people have been arrested for street racing, laying drag, or reckless driving since the beginning of the year. 

Areas like Buckhead and Midtown have seen an ongoing issue with street racing since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

APD says it has been cracking down on the dangerous activity and has seen a dip in numbers recently. 

"We have units in the city, on the weekends just dedicated to this problem and we will get them over to you," said Deputy Chief Michael O'Connor with the Atlanta Police Department. 

Some residents say, however, quiet nights are still hard to come by. 

"From 11 o'clock to like 5 in the morning. It's just nonstop noise," said Jessica Mura, a midtown resident. 

Mura says she moved to Midtown because it was quieter and safer than where she was before. Mura uses a wheelchair and she says she's now afraid to venture out because of reckless drivers.  

The sounds of engines revving have also kept Krista Pappas up at night. 

She says maybe it's time to look to prevent and not just react when it happens. 

"When it keeps going and going and going, there is something missing from the equation, and I think that's why one of the things we have to figure out as a community is where are the deterrence and what does that look like," Pappas said. 

Right now, those charged with racing, laying drag or reckless driving can face a $1000 fine and 6 months in jail.

Those watching could face the same penalties. 

APD says the impact of these penalties will be seen in the coming months. 

"While we're making these charges and people are going to jail, the courts are not open so there have been no penalties leveled in anyway. They haven't paid a fine, had points on their license. None of that's happened yet because the courts aren't functioning," Deputy Chief O'Connor said. 

Mura says she doesn't think the penalty is harsh enough to deter people from reckless behavior. 

"People are going to do what they want to do and I don't think a slap on the hand or a fine is going to stop them," Mura said. 

While the loud sounds and smell of rubber are annoying, safety is the biggest issue. 

"This has the potential to go really bad and have innocent people pay the price for it. So why not nip it in the bud while you can?" Pappas said. 

Call 911 if you see or hear street racing in your area.