No arrests made following disruptive illegal sideshows in San Francisco

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Drivers went on a sideshow spree in San Francisco over the weekend.

First, cell phone video captured the illegal stunts early Sunday morning and then again Sunday night.

This most recent sideshow happened in the Mission District at 24th and Mission Streets around 9 p.m. on Sunday, just hours after drivers were burning out in the SoMa neighborhood near 6th and Harrison streets before 3 a.m.

While this comes nearly a year after the city passed new laws to impound vehicles involved in sideshows, San Francisco police haven’t made any arrests in either of these cases. However, city leaders say that doesn’t mean arrests or car impounds won’t follow.

“I think it adds to a general sense of lawlessness. People feel unsafe,” Supervisor Ahsha Safai said.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai is one of the authors of legislation passed last fall to crack down on sideshows in the city.

This legislation now allows cars involved in sideshows or stunt driving to be impounded for two weeks and up to 30 days if the suspect has several offenses.

Since then, Supervisor Safai says police have impounded 44 cars in nearly a year.

“The more people realize that their car can be taken and it can be taken for two weeks, up to 30 days. They’re going to think twice about coming to San Francisco,” Supervisor Safai said.

However, in both events over the weekend, San Francisco police say they made no arrests and crowds were merely dispersed.

“Just because no one’s car was towed immediately doesn’t mean that they won’t go after the evidence then presented and get the vehicles at their place of residence. In fact, they’ve done that. Of the 44 there were a good number that they showed up at the people’s house and towed their vehicle at their residence,” Supervisor Safai said.

At the same time of this impounding law, San Francisco police also formed a specialized stunt driving response unit.

The unit also uses newer city cameras at sideshow hotspots for surveillance of these illegal activities. 

As we continue to see these sideshows in the city, Supervisor Safai says the city is now looking to create similar laws to San Jose.

You may recall, in June, San Jose was the first major U.S. city to make it illegal to promote these sideshow events on social media, through phone messages and even word of mouth.

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