The crowds spontaneously appear at the first sound of screeching tires and gather to watch cars spinning like tops in the street. The assembly is called a sideshow (search), but this event doesn't include fun and games.

Sideshows can draw raucous crowds to any intersection in Oakland (search), leading to fights and much worse. Last year eight people died in sideshow-related accidents or shootings.

"Thus far this year we've had four homicides directly related to sideshows. We've had a number of instances of property damage," Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker (search) said.

At the sideshows, thrill-seeking drivers do "donuts" at incredible speeds. Participants often get arrested and their vehicles are temporarily confiscated, but now the city is considering some new laws to help crack down.

The City Council has suggested that spectators be fined up to $1,000 for simply watching. Officials hope that without an audience there won't be a show.

But some say penalizing spectators is the wrong approach.

"I think a lot of the people attending these sideshows are not just kids," Oakland resident Tracy Myers said. "They're not necessarily living in the community of Oakland."

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Erik Liljegren.