SAN FRANCISCO - A little more than a week after a deadly shooting San Francisco leaders are cracking down on sideshows. There are now officers on patrol and legislation aimed at taking cars from those involved in the illegal stunt shows.
Politicians and police agree the shows are dangerous and sometimes deadly, and they're adding new tools to the city's arsenal aimed at those who organize and participate in the illegal car shows.
City leaders in San Francisco say they've seen a disturbing increase in illegal car stunt shows known as sideshows. Politicians and police pointing to a deadly shooting at a side show earlier this month as an example of what can go wrong.
Now, they say they're cracking down with a one-two punch. First a new specialized unit in San Francisco's police Department. "This unit that we've trained up, we want them to specialize in being able to deal with these situations," said Chief Bill Scott from San Francisco Police Department.
The second part of cracking down, new legislation put forth by San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí on Tuesday, which would allow the city to impound the vehicles of those involved. "You have the penalty of being arrested and put in prison for up to six months we have the ability to impound your vehicle no less than two weeks. Second offense a little longer than that third offense just shy of 30 days," said Supervisor Safaí.
San Francisco's mayor sending a clear message to those looking to come to the city for sideshows, don't. "We don't always want to use this heavy hand of law enforcement to address issues," said Mayor London Breed. "But, in this particular case because of its danger you have left us with no choice. In San Francisco that will not be tolerated."
Police say impounding vehicles is something they can enforce without having to run it through the District Attorney's Office, and say they're going to work with other jurisdictions to track down sideshow participants no matter where they come from. "The question is, do we have the impound authority for the vehicle, and if it's used with this kind of reckless type of driving exhibition sometimes the vehicle itself can be seized as evidence," said Chief Scott. "So, we can work with other jurisdictions to make that happen."
City leaders stress that they will also be targeting those who block roads and act as look outs or blockers for sideshows, saying they are aiding and abetting the commission of a crime, their vehicles could be impounded as well.