Illegal street racing, car gatherings fueling concerns for neighbors along Southwest Military

Dist. 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran looking at ordinances, policies to address issue

SAN ANTONIO – Illegal street racing is once again fueling concerns on the Southwest Side. People in the area say there’s been a recent uptick in late-night street racing on Southwest Military Drive and are looking to local leaders for answers.

“It seems like they’re back in the South Side, in our neighborhoods,” said Phyllis Viagran, District 3 councilwoman. “What we’re seeing is that it moves it moves around the city.”

Viagran said she is aware of recent resident complaints and is looking at several ordinances or policies to address the issue.

“The other thing is we’re going to need to look at what we do with the trespassing because some of them are gathering on private property,” said Viagran.

Viagran encourages business owners to put up trespassing signs to curb large car gatherings but also wants to hear from property owners and neighbors.

“To see how we can do a noise ordinance that doesn’t hurt legitimate businesses but addresses these gatherings that stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning,” said Viagran.

According to San Antonio police, South Patrol area officers were out this past Sunday evening in the SW Military area addressing the issues.

SAPD said officers were able to proactively clear parking lots where individuals were meeting up and causing disturbances.

“This is part of an on-going initiative by the South Patrol Area. They will continue to address this issue and disperse the individuals that cause a nuisance to the residents in the South Service area,” the department said in a statement.

Another potential option is blocking off stretches of Southwest Military late at night, but local businesses in the area would like to have an input on a final decision.

“I’m sure it can impact a lot of businesses if she decides to do that,” said Andrew Pacheco, general manager at Buddy’s Home Furnishings. “I don’t interfere with them. They don’t interfere with our business, so to each their own. That’s the way I see it.”

Viagran said, “This is a huge priority. We’ve had to public safety town halls with Chief McManus. We’re having a town hall with the DA to address what he knows.”

Viagran added that a proposed ordinance addressing the type of street racing where large groups meet to watch races has gone back to the drawing board for the moment.

“We don’t want to have unintended consequences for spectators,” said Viagran. “What we realized is we need to bring in the business community to understand that they’re gathering in their areas, trespassing, and how we do that. We’re looking into what’s the next step that can help all the residents.”

SAPD released the following statement to KSAT when asked about recent illegal street racing activity along Southwest Military Drive:

“In recent years, the SAPD South Service Area took action and has continued to address this issue. Their efforts have managed to push the majority of the activity away from South. For the last two years, South Patrol has had an on-going initiative where we have officers constantly driving Military Dr. and removing the individuals from the area every Sunday evening who are causing disturbances.During the summer months this activity picks up, which we have met by adding additional SAFFE Officers who drive Military Dr. and address the racing, drifting and loud music. Additionally, South Service Area works with local businesses and with their cooperation we have obtained CTW (Criminal Trespass Warning Affidavits) which allow us to remove vehicles from their lots during non-business hours. We will continue to address this issue and we will continue to disperse the individuals that cause a nuisance to the residents in the South Service area.”


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About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.