SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose police officers employed a new tactic over the weekend to disrupt sideshow activity, resulting in over 700 citations being issued to stunt drivers and spectators.
The department's air support team developed the tactic, which involves tracking sideshows from above, then boxing cars in with a large police presence on the ground.
After a sideshow erupted Saturday night in the area of Monterey and Branham, the police department's new protocol kicked into gear with officers convening and blocking the area off in all directions.
"We were able to successfully employ a tactic that we have developed where we essentially block them in," said Deputy Chief Brian Shab. "That required over 100 officers, sergeants and lieutenants to be able to do safely and effectively."
The tactic was developed over the last several months, but Saturday by far, was the department's biggest sideshow enforcement.
Over eight hours, 500 cars were detained, 17 of the vehicle impounded, and 720 citations issued.
Thanks to a city council ordinance, spectating at these sideshows is a misdemeanor.
"This is exactly what we hoped would happen. That the police would have enough teeth to start enforcing laws and making it worthwhile and painful for those people who are abusing the system," said former San Jose City Council member Johnny Khamis who helped draft the ordinance.
Resident Lecha Moran said,"It sounded like it was in our backyard."
She said she's sick of the sideshows and is hopeful a police crackdown will help.
"I hope it will make them stop because I think it's super dangerous especially for the homeowners around here," said Moran.
For police, that type of enforcement is a big expenditure both in terms of cost and resources. And for a thinly staffed department, it will be hard to keep up.
"We will 100% make sure that we have the maximum enforcement, no tolerance policy every single time we can muster enough resources," said Shab.
Police believe the citations will be a deterrent, making people think twice before bringing their sideshows to San Jose.