San Jose

San Jose Police Can Now Go After Sideshow Promoters

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Jose is stepping up the intensity in its campaign against sideshows.

A judge has given police the ability to not just go after the people who participate and watch the illegal and dangerous stunt shows but also those who are promoting them online.

There are a lot of cars and people who get involved when a sideshow is announced, usually through social media. It all comes together very fast and can vanish almost as quickly.

"It’s unrealistic to expect that in a city of 181 square miles that 1,100 police officers can respond to sideshows that can be [500] or 600 cars," San Jose Councilmember Maya Esparza said.

Esparza pushed the recent civil court case that blocked two website operators from spreading information promoting and inviting people from all around the Bay Area to upcoming sideshows.

Police said they hope the injunction will also encourage impacted neighborhoods to report what they see.

"So there are countless websites that we get sent to us from the community, but the reality is, it’s changing every day and we monitor them the best we can," SJPD Sideshow Response Coordinator Capt. Todd Trayer said.

The injunction follows a so-called spectator ordinance that allows the city to fine audiences at sideshows.

The next step now is a pilot program in which sideshow and street racing hotspots are being reconfigured with roundabouts and barriers.

"I am all for and working with the Department of Transportation and Councilmember Esparza’s office and leadership really on these issues," Trayer said. "I do see each of the plans making a big difference."

Police said their research shows many of the people who come to sideshows in San Jose come from other cities.

Police and city leaders plan to continue the crackdown to keep organizers off the street and off social media.

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