How social media likely fuels street takeovers

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has seized cars, guns and arrested dozens of people connected to street takeovers.

READ: CMPD makes more arrests connected to street takeovers

CMPD Lt. Christopher Rorie heads a task force, which was created to stop these illegal activities.

“[It’s] one of our top priorities because of its impact on three major categories for us,” Rorie said. “You’re looking at quality of life issues. You’re looking at safety issues and you’re looking at criminal activity.”

Channel 9 has been tracking these incidents since October 2022 after a takeover near SouthPark Mall.

Police said social media and money have been fueling the trend.

There are some videos from Charlotte with more than 1 million views.

“They’re making thousands upon thousands of dollars every day,” Rorie said.

However, the law hasn’t quite caught up with the trend.

The punishment in most cases is a citation, so the task force got creative and started seizing cars.

“If we’ve got their car, they don’t have their car,” Rorie said. “They’re probably still making payments on that car.”

That strategy has produced results, he said.

“We’re not seeing the large amount of participation that we’ve seen in the past,” Rorie said. “February was when we saw 350 cars in an organized fashion. We’re (now) averaging about 50 to 75 cars doing that.”

“It’s pretty cool.”

Tanner, a 16-year-old high school student, loves the car scene.

“Once everyone starts to do their thing, start drifting and stuff, the rush is pretty crazy,” Tanner told Channel 9. “Everyone has their phone out hyping up the drivers and stuff. It’s pretty cool.”

He doesn’t drive but the videos he makes, some of them of street takeovers, have given him an impressive online following.

However, he recognizes the dangers.

Tanner said he thinks the CMPD task force is necessary because he’s been at some of the takeovers where things have taken a wrong turn.

“There are people who have had their windows smashed out,” he said. “I’ve heard people shooting in the air and it’s just not necessary.”

He said much of it gets out of hand because people are chasing social media status.

“A lot of people are doing it for the clout,” Tanner said. “They just want the attention online. I think that’s what’s really killed the car scene.”

Tanner said he’s seen fewer cars at meetups recently.

“They are definitely scaring people, which is a good tactic,” he said.

Rorie and other officers are trying to get a message across to drivers if social media fame is the trend.

“You don’t want to be that guy or gal (who hits) somebody and maybe fatally injure somebody,” Rorie said. “And I have to go out there and I have to do a notification to their parents or their loved one. You have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

CMPD said it costs a lot of money in manpower, overtime, and resources to crack down on street takeovers.

Channel 9 asked for an exact dollar amount but haven’t gotten that yet.

VIDEO: CMPD on street takeover response