OAKLAND (KCBS) — Interim Police Chief Sean Whent and community leaders announced Monday afternoon several strategies to crack down on an increasing number of illegal sideshows in the city.
Monday's news conference came after three people were shot at a sideshow early Saturday morning at MacArthur Boulevard and 106th Avenue. A woman was critically injured in the shooting.
Whent said he will have officers in place on upcoming Fridays and Saturdays at known hotspots for sideshows. The California Highway Patrol will also increase their presence.
"I am redirecting car reduction teams to intervene, interrupt and prevent continued sideshow activity," he said.
Whent said many of the people committing violent crimes in Oakland congregate at the sideshows, where cars perform dangerous stunts. He also responded to reports that officers have not been responding to past reports of such events.
"It's probably fair to say that we don't respond timely and that's unfortunate and due to our staffing that we have on Friday and Saturday nights shifting our crime response teams to come in and buttress what our patrol efforts can do," Whent said.
Olis Simmons, president and CEO of Youth Uprising, said young people need to be given positive alternatives to sideshows, but she does not have the resources yet to keep her neighborhood youth center open past 8 p.m.
"The opportunity isn't just to offer young people some alternatives, but to actually think creatively like some of our sister cities like San Diego and think about other ways that we can actually redirect this energy," Simmons said.
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