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Neighbors Demand Police Stop Surge Of Sideshow Activity At SJ Intersection

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A San Jose neighborhood is demanding the police department and city leaders come up with a plan to put the brakes on illegal sideshows that have woken up their community with the sound of squealing tires and gunfire.

"It's very tough to wake up to something like that. You hear gunshots. It's just very upsetting and frightening," says Paul Albanese who lives near the intersection of Hamilton and Leigh Avenue -- the scene of an illegal sideshow early Sunday morning.

Albanese says he and his neighbors were woken up around 1:45 Sunday morning. A spokesperson for the police department says there were several dozen cars and more than a hundred people watching the sideshow.

Neighbors expressed frustration that the police department didn't respond quickly enough or with a sufficient number of officers to immediately shut down the illegal gathering.

In video obtained by KPIX, spectators can be seen firing guns into the air as they walk away from the illegal gathering.

"There were guns being fired. We don't want anyone catching a stray bullet," say neighbor Brad Fox.

The police department says over the weekend there were sideshows in at least four different locations. In total, police say they impounded four cars and cited 45 people.

Nearly two years ago, the San Jose City Council passed an ordinance allowing police officers to cite and fine -- up to a thousand dollars -- anyone merely watching an illegal sideshow.

"We don't want vandalism. We don't want underage drinking. We don't want parties in the middle of the street. So, we are definitely taking this seriously," says Councilmember Dev Davis.

Davis says the fines did put the brakes of sideshows in the city of San Jose for a time. However, she says the illegal gathering have ramped back up during the pandemic.

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