Oakland has long wrestled with the sideshow phenomenon, which reportedly started in the parking lot of Eastmont Town Center shopping mall. Police have blamed the exhibitions for traffic accidents and crimes including shootings.
A 2005 MSNBC article, quoted Oakland Police Lt. Dave Kozicki on the dangers:
"But Lt. Kozicki says that while no one’s been killed doing a "donut," people have been killed in accidents fleeing sideshows — and he says there’s plenty of violence generated by the crowd itself. "Just this year alone, we've had three of our homicides in the city of Oakland directly attributed to sideshow activity," he says. The best evidence, says Kozicki, are in the videotapes sideshow participants make and sell. "I tell you, I could not put together a better case against sideshows than what these people are producing themselves," he says.
The city passed laws aimed at controlling the sideshows, the Oakland Tribune reported.
But former Mayor Ron Dellums proposed decriminalizing the activity, which has also inspired rap songs, the New York Times reported in 2009:
“If a significant part the motivation for people in sideshows is to demonstrate their competence at the wheel, maybe you don’t need to do that in the streets (and) endanger people and endanger the community and endanger yourselves,” Mr. Dellums said.