PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Fast and furious in Phoenix, street racers and drifters are taking over the streets.

"It's better than drugs, it's better than killing myself," a drifter told us anonymously.

[WATCH: Inside look at illegal street meetups, burnouts in Phoenix]

Police are desperate to put the brakes on street racers as public roads turn into racetracks and gutsy drifters are taking over major intersections and parking lots with crowds watching way too close.

Arizona's Family wanted to see a car meetup on our own. Our crews dressed undercover to infiltrate this underground car community. People who do it call it a sideshow or swinging. Police call it illegal. Police broke up every meetup we went to.

[RELATED: Laveen resident captures cars in 'street takeover' in neighborhood]

Officers pulled over a couple of cars while dozens of others were free to go. The same drivers took a detour to evade the cops. Another pit stop was shared on social media, which is another parking lot they'll turn into a car show.

We asked a man hanging out of a car while it was drifting full speed why he would put himself in that danger.

"It's a lifestyle," the anonymous drifter said. "This is what we do. This is what I love."

Now, Phoenix Police is cracking down.

"It's a problem we are getting a lot of complaints about," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune.

[RELATED: Street racer arrested after crashing into DPS patrol car in Phoenix]

It's not just noise complaints. Police said videos posted online show clear and present danger to those in the car and out.

"People get hurt," Sgt. Fortune said. "They're not wearing seat belts, they're hanging out of cars, they're in the bed of pickup trucks and it's just not a safe environment."

The examples are seemingly endless: A street race ending in a collision, a man falling out of the bed of a truck and a car spinning into a crowd of people. It's all happening in Phoenix and according to police, the illegal activity is revving up.

"It's really concerning," Sgt. Fortune said.

Now, police are driving fast to slow down the meetups.

"What were you thinking?" Sgt. Fortune said to a man she pulled over for peeling his tires.

We asked the police how they decide who to arrest when hundreds of people are at the illegal car meetups.

"It depends on who saw it and who witnessed it," Sgt. Fortune said. "If I have visual confirmation on who's doing it, then that's who will get arrested."

But the street takeovers continue. People who participate said it's more than a cheap thrill, it's a lifestyle, while officers hope they trend burns out. Police responded to nearly 70 calls during our ride along on a Sunday night. They told us they're partnering up with the Tolleson Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to stop the car meetups.

 


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