LOS ANGELES – On any given night in Los Angeles (search), not too long ago, hundreds of drivers and fans would gather in parking lots and on back roads to street race.
The illegal competitions quickly became a deadly game and after four people died in a matter of weeks the Los Angeles Police Department (search) brought the racing to a screeching halt by confiscating the vehicles involved.
In the six months the LAPD has been taking cars police said there have not even been any reports of street racing.
The success of the program has prompted police to try seizing other offenders' cars for drug dealing (search), soliciting prostitutes, illegal dumping and possibly soon, drunk driving.
"This is one more tool that the police can use to try and dissuade the people from engaging in conduct," said LAPD Cpt. Greg Myer. "And we're going to keep it up until some judge tells us we can't."
Critics of the program claim these seizures are a clear violation of civil rights, and one concern is that police departments will become too focused on confiscating property and the money that it generates. And just because it deters crime, they say, doesn't make it legal.
"All government officials, law enforcement officials included, should be concerned about whether what they are doing is legal," Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice said.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Trace Gallagher.