San Jose cracks down on spectators at illegal sideshows

Bay Area

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Since 2015, six people have died as a result of street racing and sideshows in the city of San Jose.

Sideshows often attract big crowds that can get out of hand putting participants, spectators and innocent bystanders or neighbors at risk.

The San Jose city council has passed a new city ordinance unanimously that would authorize police to criminalize attending these events says San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“We have lost six people to street racing and that is six too many, we have lost too many young lives and we need to do more to crack down,” the mayor said.

Under the new ordinance a spectator could be cited with a misdemeanor and be fined a $1,000 and be given six months in jail or both.

Anyone caught within 200 feet of a street race or sideshow would be considered a spectator and could be cited.

“Spectators themselves are helping to create the event,” Liccardo said. “Whether they are advertising the events, uploading video or blocking off streets or watching out for police, we know that these events are happening because of the people who are standing around.”

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia says that given the important role spectators play in encouraging, popularizing and facilitating street races and sideshows, discouraging their participation would be an important first step in combating the problem.

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