After acknowledging reduction, Jacksonville police notice recent uptick in street racing

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police launched a coordinated crackdown on street racing last summer, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office acknowledged a “drastic reduction” in the problem.

Undercover officers infiltrated the racing groups. Felony arrests were made and big fines were assessed. Cars were impounded, costing the owners thousands of dollars.

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But recently, the Sheriff’s Office has noticed an uptick in street racing, including one night when racers took over the Dames Point Bridge.

There’ve been a couple new arrests, and News4JAX has obtained video from JSO in a case from June, in which they broke up some racing on I-295 near Philips Highway. One of the drivers pleaded no contest to street racing, was placed on six months’ probation, had his car impounded for 30-days and his drivers license suspended for a year.

Jimmie and Jordan Hamilton’s company manages shopping centers from Yulee to St. Augustine, and those include 22 properties in Jacksonville. Some of their parking lots, they said, had become the sites of meetups.

I asked them about an increase in car club activity, but one responded, “I’ve seen nothing. 99-percent of them have gotten the message. It was horrible for awhile.”

When JSO cracked down on the problem during the summer, it announced a total of $92,510 in traffic citations were issued.

About the Authors:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.