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San Jose Police Struggle To Keep Up With Sideshow Enforcement Efforts

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Police in San Jose say there are not enough officers to deal with the number of sideshows happening around the city, following a weekend where at least one person was hurt during a series of street stunts.

A video shot by neighbors shows the skidding cars and the large crowds forming a makeshift arena in a San Jose intersection, one of several sideshows seen across the city over the weekend, including one where a spectator was severely injured.

"Oh, it was scary. You could hear everything from inside my building," said Blanca, a San Jose resident. "It sounded like they were going to bash right in here."

Blanca lives in a senior complex at Fruitdale and Meridian. She said the sideshow here on Saturday night was seemed to be well organized.

"They had all that road blocked there, all this road blocked here. They all had their lights out. And they just kept doing circles for over half an hour," Blanca said.

Neighbors commenting on Nextdoor said the burning rubber smoke cloud rose 100 feet and were frustrated that police did not immediately break up the crowds.

Blanca said police were outnumbered by the hundreds.

"The police could only do so much. They came in like 20 cars at once, but they had to go slow because all the streets were blocked," she said.

"We understand the public is frustrated, but we really are doing the best we can," said San Jose Police Sgt. Christian Camarillo, noting the department's ongoing short staffing issues limit its ability to respond to sideshows safely and with large numbers of officers.

Camarillo added there's sometimes gunfire and officers have been pelted with rocks and bottles when they respond.

"It's not the type of incident where we can send two, three or four patrol cars to," said Camarillo. "We need to have a really coordinated and organized response to deal with these effectively."

Officers issued 17 citations for vehicle equipment violations and 15 for spectator violations over the weekend.

One driver, innocently caught inside a sideshow Saturday night, called police to report a careening car ran over a spectator.

A couple of hours later, we had a gentleman show up at one of our local hospitals with a very serious injury, a life-threatening injury," said Camarillo. "It was later determined that that was the individual who was struck at the sideshow at San Ignacio and Great Oaks Boulevard.



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