SAN ANTONIO — It’s become a tradition on Sunday nights. Street racers are seen challenging each other down Military Drive on the City’s southside.
Patricia Garcia Duarte, a member of the Mission San Jose Neighborhood Association, said their neighborhood has been working with San Antonio Police, their city council representatives and local businesses to try and make their streets safer.
"I can't even get on Military Drive to get a bite to eat or get gas because these people are driving reckless,” Duarte said.
A spokesperson with San Antonio Police said illegal street racing has been an issue in San Antonio for decades, but in the past few months, the department has increased the number of officers stationed along Military Drive on Sunday evenings.
SAPD’s S.A.F.F.E. unit is part of the efforts to stop the dangerous drivers. In November 2019, the unit assisted multiple law enforcement agencies in a sting operation making 20 apprehensions, including reckless driving and racing and issued 11 traffic citations.
"Those vehicles that were towed the drivers were responsible for all the fines and the fees for their vehicles and some of those vehicles will not be returned until after their court case is closed,” Officer Natasha Brewer with the S.A.F.F.E. Unit said.
There is an alternative for racers looking to chase the thrill. Alamo City Motorplex, formerly known as San Antonio Raceway, host events for drivers and for people who want to watch the races.
“It's legal here and a lot safer, “ General Manager George Jones said. “We have EMTs and it's a much better environment.”
Jones said he too was part of the illegal street racing crew years ago but turned to the legal alternative after losing his license. He said they have build a community centered around the love for cars and racing.
“We really are a family here,” Jones said. “Like I said, compared to the cost of tickets and running from the law and being chased, it’s no comparison to the cost to come here and race.”