Governor launches statewide street takeover task force after Austin incidents

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday the launch of a statewide street takeover task force to combat the rise in dangerous street takeovers happening across Texas.

This comes after 4 street takeovers in Austin on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Police have seized drugs and guns, including at least one that was stolen, and made multiple arrests linked to the incidents.

Now, the Governor has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to address the recent street takeovers that have become increasingly violent and more frequent, resulting in injuries to law enforcement officers and endangering the public.

"Despite the foolish attempts by some local officials to defund and demoralize our brave law enforcement officers, Texas is and remains a law-and-order state," said Gov. Abbott. 

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"We must send a clear message that these reckless, coordinated criminal events will not be tolerated in Texas. This statewide task force will work closely with local officials and law enforcement to investigate, prosecute, and prevent these dangerous street takeovers. Working together, we can ensure Texans in communities large and small remain safe," said Gov. Abbott.

"These street takeovers put the lives of Texans and Texas law enforcement officers at risk," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "We are seeing fireworks fired at officers in crowds, lasers pointed at aircraft, drivers driving upwards of 130 miles per hour with no lights on in the dark of night—all of it is reckless, and it needs to be stopped."

The newly launched task force will focus on state-level investigations that target the organized crime aspect of the street takeovers with the goal of making arrests and seizing assets, including vehicles and weapons. Gov. Abbott says, in many cases, the felony charges associated with these crimes will result in prison time for the criminals responsible.

DPS is also reminding the public to report any suspicious activity when it comes to possible street takeovers through iWatchTexas. Tips can be reported via the website, the free iOS or Android mobile app or by calling 844-643-2251. All reports are confidential.

Remember, iWatchTexas is not for emergencies. If you see a street takeover taking place, call 911 immediately.