STOCKTON (CBS13) — A potential solution could be coming for the ongoing problem of illegal sideshows affecting several cities across the region.
Police say the events have caused chaos in the streets and thousands of dollars worth of damage. Now, a new task force is hoping to cut down on all the activity happening in vacant lots.
Police hope to prevent another parking lot from turning into an impromptu car show filled with drinking drivers and dangerous stunts.
All that is left after another illegal sideshow popped up near the Stockton Airport are damaged tires, bottles of beer and debris left all over the now the damaged parking lot.
“It’s something that you know has become really very dangerous and something we need to get on top of right away,” said Lt. Rich Ridenour of the Stockton Police Department.
Police say sideshows can attract anywhere from 50 to hundreds of people that sometimes result in gunfire, vandalism of people’s cars, and violent activity, and it’s not just happening in empty lots.
“A lot of times, they will be spinning their cars, and doing donuts and vandalizing the streets and just basically causing a shutdown of all the roads and businesses in the area,” he said.
The Stockton Police Department is now part of a multi-agency task force where there will be zero tolerance for any illegal sideshow activity. An undercover officer says drivers caught participating will be fined and their cars towed.
“Ultimately what happens is that it causes damage to the parking lot and does thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. So, ultimately the private properties have to take care of that,” he said.
There are police officers assigned to investigate illegal sideshows which they say are often advertised through word of mouth or social media.
“Basically, what we’re doing is that we are trying to make it where it’s safe for everybody,” said Carol Noceti, promoter of Outlaw Drift Series.
Noceti promotes so-called legal shows in the county, giving people a venue that is safe for participants and spectators.
“We have an EMT on site, we have fire safety on site, and we also have people that regulating, keeping the rules, making sure the rules are being followed,” she said.
The Outlaw Draft Series events are held at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds, once a month from March through November.