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Dayton Police and City Commission discuss tougher penalties for 'hooning'

On January 15th, cars could be seen "hooning" in the area of East Third and South Jefferson Streets.

According to the Dayton Police Department, illegal street racing and exhibition driving has been on the rise in the Dayton region since 2020.

The latest in this series of incidents was January 15th , where cars could be seen spinning in circles, squealing tires and revving engines on East Third and South Jefferson streets in downtown Dayton.

This practice is called “hooning," which Dayton police say can cause serious injury or death to drivers and pedestrians.

At the city commission meeting on January 18, Major Jason Hall of the Dayton Police Department shared how the police have been responding to the practice. He said it’s highly organized and draws drivers from as far as Indianapolis, which makes local enforcement more difficult.

Major Hall also recommended stricter laws and enhanced penalties to deter this in the Dayton region.

“We would ask that we look at what some of our other municipalities have done, and look at the potential for impoundment of vehicles and the increase on fines, as well as encouraging jail time, especially for repeat offenders,” Major Hall said.

Dayton city commissioners expressed their support for police response.

“We are looking forward to what options we have as far as changing the legislation. Obviously, something needs to be done here," commissioner Matt Joseph said.

The current legislation in Dayton cites hooning as a minor misdemeanor offense.

Police say this precludes them from arresting anyone involved in exhibition driving.

At the incident on January 15, police made one arrest on charges of obstructing official business and resisting arrest.

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.