Oakland leaders grapple with how to crack down on illegal sideshows, where 2 were shot

Two people were shot and wounded over the weekend at one of two Oakland sideshows, and some of the gunfire was captured on video.

An Oakland City Council member confirmed to KTVU that two men were shot and wounded early Sunday during a sideshow near 98th and International.

The victims are reported to be in stable condition and are not considered innocent bystanders.

"My understanding is the two who were injured were participating in the sideshow and something occurred that led to the gunfire," said City Councilman Loren Taylor, who is also on the Re-Imagining Public Safety Task Force.

A lifelong Oakland resident says he’s frustrated by what he calls complete lawlessness.

"It’s gotten worse, and it’s gotten worse because they know they can get away with it," said Don, who only wanted to share his first name.

Oakland police have a task force to address the problem and have been confiscating vehicles for 30 days, which has provided evidence many sideshow participants are outsiders.

"There’s firm evidence from the cars that are being towed and other stops that are made when pursuing sideshows that many folks are not from the city," said Taylor.

Taylor says the city needs a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem, and is looking at using improved intelligence to anticipate gatherings and respond faster.

The city is also looking at harsher penalties.

The Oaklander named Don said he thinks his solution is simple and effective.

"You get caught at a sideshow, spinning out donuts, you lose your car.  You don’t get your car back.  You’re on the bus now," said Don.

Changing infrastructure is also something being pondered, such as adding dividers, medians, or roundabouts in areas ripe for sideshows.

Pushing the problem into low enforcement uninhabited areas -- once considered -- may no longer be an option, now that sideshows are bringing gunfire.

"Clearly there are safety challenges when you have guns that are being fired off, multiple rounds, during a sideshow, no matter where you are, that is not safe," said Taylor.  "That is not something we want to condone or allow to occur." 

Sideshow enforcement has been limited lately due to budget constraints, according to Taylor.

But he says the recently approved federal relief bill is providing new money that should help add additional resources for enforcement.