Sideshow Updates: Community Engagement, Vehicle Impounds, Continued Enforcement & Street Engineering Pilot Program
Photo: car seized in this operation
Orignally published as a Santa Rosa Police Department Facebook post –
“Sideshow activity has negatively impacted not only Santa Rosa recently, but the entire state. These activities have increased exponentially over the past year. Sideshows have been largest on Friday and Saturday nights with some crowds in excess of 400 people. Friday and Saturday nights are some of the busiest and highest volume of calls for service throughout Santa Rosa (unrelated to sideshows). We have experienced street racing, burn-outs and crowds throughout the city. They often are occurring in multiple locations in Santa Rosa, at the same time.
Responding to crowds of 300-400 spectators and 50-70 participating vehicles takes a tremendous amount of resources and poses serious safety risks. The mere presence of police resources most often does not cause people involved to disperse. In past circumstances, officers addressing crowds at these events have had rocks and bottles being thrown at them, turning the situation into a riotous event. Police agencies like Oakland Police Department, San Francisco Police Department and San Jose Police Department have large teams dedicated to sideshow enforcement. The Santa Rosa Police department does not have the resources to dedicate an entire squad (25-30 officers) multiple nights a week, to address sideshows exclusively.
Even though sideshows are a complex issue to address, we will continue to find ways to best respond to them. Santa Rosa Police Department will continue to partner with stakeholders to Educate/Engage with the community, Enforce all laws associated with illegal sideshows and Engineer methods to prevent/deter sideshows from forming in Santa Rosa.
Towing Vehicles that Participate in Illegal Sideshows
This week, Detectives and Traffic Investigators continued to investigate vehicles that participated in recent illegal sideshows in Santa Rosa. Warrants were written on four vehicles and numerous additional warrants are in process. On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the four completed warrants were approved by Sonoma County Judges. On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Traffic Investigators served the warrants and impounded all four vehicles.
Each of the vehicles will be held for 30-days and the registered owner is required to pay for tow fees, storage fees, and release fees. The total cost is more than $2,500. Traffic Investigators will continue to identify drivers, so they can be prosecuted for reckless driving, while participating in an illegal sideshow.
Traffic Investigators will continue to follow up on the outstanding vehicles and additional impounds are imminent. The photographs attached were impounded yesterday. Tips and videos/photographs continue to come it to SRPD investigators. As Traffic Investigators vet the information, more 30-impounds are anticipated.
The Traffic Division has been working with the Traffic and Engineering Department and other Bay-Area agencies impacted by sideshow activity to identify tactics and devises to aid in addressing sideshows. One method that has been successful in other jurisdictions are the installation of Bot-Dots in intersections frequently used for sideshows. These dots are raised dots arranged in the intersection to deter reckless driving such as drifting and doughnuts. These devices can be slippery when they get wet, so they are arranged in a manner that vehicles can straddle them while proceeding straight, or making a 90 degree turn. It also allows for motorcycles to navigate the intersection without having to drive over the dots.
These devices were installed today in the intersection of Sebastopol Ave and West Ave. We will be evaluating their effectiveness over the next few weeks and we will be adding additional intersections for installation of BotDots. We don’t expect that this alone will eliminate sideshow activity, however it is another new tool that will hopefully improve our ability to deter sideshow activity.
Traffic Investigators and Detectives are continually monitoring for potential illegal sideshows in Santa Rosa. Chief Navarro has authorized overtime to help with enforcement and partnered with local Chiefs and the Sonoma County Sheriff to bolster mutual aid, if it is needed.
Illegal sideshows are dangerous and participants often become violent when being dispersed. They drain patrol & investigative resources when they erratically form in neighborhoods. Resources that respond to domestic violence calls, shootings, assaults, major traffic collisions, DUIs and numerous other calls that require a police response.
The Santa Rosa Police Department is committed to making Santa Rosa a safe place to live, work and play and will continue to enforcement laws associated with illegal sideshows. That includes arrests of drivers and impounding of vehicles. SRPD will work with our partners in the City of Santa Rosa Office of Community Engagement to continue and educate the community on the dangers of sideshows and our efforts to prevent and/or respond them. Finally, we will work with outside law enforcement agencies experiencing similar issues and engineer creative ways to stop sideshows in Santa Rosa. That includes partnering with the Santa Rosa Traffic and Engineering Department to develop strategies that will prevent sideshows on streets, but allow safe travel through our neighborhoods.
Sideshows are dangerous to the participants, spectators and neighborhoods they impact. Enforcement is not the only way we are going to prevent them from happening. We need to the community to report sideshow activity, provide information about participants, educate friends & family about the dangers of sideshows and do not be a spectator. Together, we can share the responsibility of preventing sideshows and keeping our neighborhoods safe for everyone
Sideshow Updates: Community Engagement, Vehicle Impounds, Continued Enforcement & Street Engineering Pilot Program was last modified: October 12th, 2021 by