Pop-up car parties strain police resources, raise safety concerns

'They don't care about anybody's safety,' Lauderhill police lieutenant says

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

LAUDERHILL, Fla. - Lauderhill police officers are cracking down on unlawful assemblies they claim are taking over streets and businesses and putting the public at risk.

"They don't care about anybody's safety," Lt. Mike Santiago said.

Videos on social media show cars parked in the middle of the street, blocking traffic, and people standing on top of cars dancing. Police describe these gatherings as "rolling car shows" or "pop-up car shows."

"They leave their cars right in the middle of the road and don't move," Santiago said. "That's a danger to the public."

Cellphone video shows police officers responding to one of these illegal gatherings at Northwest 19th Street and Northwest 38th Avenue. As they attempted to break it up, one of the police officers was summoned to a cardiac arrest emergency.

Officers said those trying to respond to the emergency attempted to travel on Northwest 19th Street, but they had to reroute because of the crowds at a pop-up party.

Local 10 News rode with Santiago on Saturday night as he was dispatched to the Exxon gas station at Sunrise Boulevard and Northwest 31st Avenue, where there were some 30 to 40 vehicles in the parking lot.

Some of the vehicles were shiny and had flashy rims. A man was grilling food on the back of a pickup truck. When Santiago arrived, drivers started to speed away. Officers were outnumbered and they were only able to stop a handful of the drivers. One officer pulled a red cup out of one car. 

"These things spill over into fights, drugs, people drinking, gambling," Santiago said. "People (are) actually getting hurt, whether it's a stabbing or a shooting."

Santiago said officers are concerned the gatherings are growing in popularity.

"It's taking the majority of our resources just to address the issues that are going on at these particular locations," the veteran police officer said. "So the rest of the city is being neglected."

They plan on strengthening enforcement ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

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