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Police say complaints on toe tagging dropping as summer break comes to end

Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 18:35:30-04

Just three months since police launched a PSA to crack down on a dangerous game on the roads, complaints have dropped.

The St. Petersburg police department has been issuing a PSA since Memorial Day about how groups of middle schoolers, high schoolers and young adults meet up at parks and shopping centers to race.

Teens caught on video toe tagging across new areas of St. Petersburg, months after police PSA

According to officers with the department, the teens go on to city streets and race in a single file line trying to make it to the front of the pack and tag other drivers by hitting their bumpers.

St. Pete Police warn community about dangerous 'toe tagging'

Since the PSA was released in May, police say they have made changes to parks like Lake Vista where they now are able to lock the gates and enforce no trespassing after dark.

However, neighbors who live near the Coquina Key Shopping Plaza along 6th Avenue South say the dangerous behavior is making a comeback near them.

Phyllis Dodge lives nearby and says she still sees the reckless driving every weekend.

"I'm paranoid someone's going to be killed" she says.

Major Frank Williams tells ABC Action News that they don't think toe tagging is happening at the shopping plaza, but rather they think it's people gathering from a bar in the plaza.

"As being in my district, I don’t think its the case, I think there are some exuberant young people who are out there that are going to the club," he said.

Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Petersburg Police Department said they have received more than two dozen phone calls in a month span from June to July.

As part of being proactive, police have done 48 directed patrols in that time frame too -- basically self-initiated monitoring of the area to help deter activity.

Fernandez said the parking lot is a private lot so they are unable to shut it down like they could the parks.

The department said they will continue to monitor this behavior, but they say toe tagging is a challenge to enforce because teens are constantly moving to new areas of the city. Officers worry that if they scare the teens, they could take off speeding and crash.