Dayton police vow to end ‘hooning’ on city streets, other property

Police say they will use zero-tolerance approach on enforcement of these traffic violations.

Dayton police officials say the police department will team up with other local law enforcement agencies this summer to try to put a stop to “hooning” in the city.

Hooning is a term used to describe reckless driving behaviors like speeding, racing, doughnuts and burnouts that often take place on public streets and in private parking lots without the owners’ permission.

City officials recently told the Dayton Daily News they plan to make safety upgrades along Gettysburg Avenue to try to deter hooning and “automobile circus acts,” and police this week vowed to crack down on these types of activities citywide.

Community members, including business owners, are fed up with hooning and illegal drag racing because they can cause property damage and put people in danger, said Dayton police Major Christopher Malson, who is in charge of the department’s operations support division.

That includes the drivers involved, other motorists, pedestrians, passers-by and spectators, who sometimes gather in sizable crowds to watch, he said.

Dayton police will work with other jurisdictions, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office, to run operations throughout the summer targeting people who are involved in these dangerous driving behaviors and those who spectate, Malson said.

Hooning, illegal street racing and exhibition driving are a problem across the entire county, officials said.

“In these operations, there’s going to be zero tolerance, so all laws will be enforced,” he said. “Individuals who are partaking in this or spectating in these events are subject to arrest, citation and also their vehicles will be towed, when appropriate.”

Suspects could face charges of trespassing, reckless operation, illegal street racing, excessive or unnecessary noise and other offenses, Malson said. Many of the offenses can result in arrests and the towing of suspects’ vehicles.

In an incident this spring, two cars lined up at a red light at Patterson Boulevard and Stout Street just south of downtown Dayton. They started revving their engines and floored it when the light turned green, according to video of the incident posted on YouTube as well as an Ohio Department of Public Safety crash report.

Within seconds, one of the vehicles lost control and hit a pole and a parked car.

The driver was charged with drag racing and failing to maintain control, according to Dayton Municipal Court documents.

At the time, he was one of seven people charged with street racing in Dayton Municipal Court since 2018.

Some people also operate vehicles on city roadways that are not permitted, like ATVs and dirt bikes that do not have the proper safety equipment, like headlights and turn signals, Malson said.

Police ask community members who know of an upcoming event that will include these reckless or illegal behaviors to contact the Strategic Response Unit at 937-333-8974.

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