Oakland police taking aim at illegal sideshows

A sideshow on Interstate 880 in Oakland.

June 3, 2013 8:26:48 PM PDT
The dangers of sideshows are back in the spotlight in Oakland after a shooting injured three people, one critically, early Saturday morning.

Sideshows are street events where drivers spin their vehicle's wheels at high rates of speed and do doughnuts in the street while crowds cheer them on.

Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent introduced a new policing strategy targeting these illegal activities, including increased enforcement from Oakland police and assistance from the California Highway Patrol. Authorities are also asking for increased community involvement.

"Sideshows are very intricately related with the violent crime. The groups that come out to attend these things are a lot of the groups that are involved in our violent crime," said Whent. "And so when they happen run into each other at the sideshow, a lot of times tempers flare and then we have violence that occurs as a result."

Police are hoping surveillance video recorded during Saturday's sideshow can help them identify the person or people responsible for firing the shots.

In addition to the woman from Walnut Creek, two men, one from Oakland and one from Hayward were shot. Both of them are expected to survive.

"Worry about the sideshows next but stop the killings first. The side shows is just on Saturday. They killing all through the day," said Todd Walker of Oakland.

This is the second high profile sideshow to steal the focus of law enforcement and force a public response.

In January, drivers on Interstate 880 were forced to watch a sideshow play out in the middle of the day. The entire episode was caught on video and posted on social media.

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