'I'm not messing around,' Antioch mayor says he's pulling out all stops to curb sideshows

One East Bay city is taking a tough stance against illegal street racing, known as sideshows.

Antioch’s mayor, Wednesday, announced his city is a "no sideshow zone." Antioch officials says either through social media, or word of mouth, they’ve been tipped to an impending sideshow in the coming days.

At a morning news conference, Mayor Lamar Thorpe announced a ban on such driving, and multiple steps to combat this kind of crime.

"We are going to install elevated pavement markers at three intersections to reduce smooth surfaces to make it difficult to perform side shows," said Thorpe.

The raised markers are a few inches high, and supplement painted markings. They’ll be installed at James Donlon Boulevard & Somersville Road; Sunset Drive & Cavallo Road, and Bluerock & Eagleridge Drives.

"I recognize that they types of events are part of the bay area culture, particularly as an expression of resistance. But I cannot ignore the fact that these kinds of events can kill people," said Thorpe.

In Apr. and May, sideshows saw upwards of 80 drivers spin donuts in multiple intersections in multiple cities across Contra Costa County.

"This is ruining people's tax dollars, people that have to go to work the next day," Antioch resident Jeremiah Rafike told Fox 2 on May 24.

Dozens of vehicles were seized in May, which is another aspect of the mayor’s plan. Towing and impound fines can reach $3,000. But so far, experts said, the effectiveness is muted.

"It’s definitely a national phenomenon and it seems to be getting worse each year," said University of New Haven criminal justice Prof. Mike Lawlor. "This is a constant battle police have to be engaged in."

Antioch officials said they’re working with a resident to have land set aside for all terrain vehicle use, which would be safer than drivers using city streets..

"We have seen people driving the vehicles become injured due to crashes. People who are spectating hit by cars," said Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks.

Officials said the pilot program runs three-to-six months, but could be expanded to more streets  if it proves successful.