Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is deploying the state police to target growing crime in Oakland, California, according to a Tuesday press release.
Violent incidents rose by 21% from 2022 to 2023 with robberies and burglaries jumping 38% and 23%, respectively, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. As a result, Newsom said that 120 California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers were going to be sent to Oakland and the surrounding area to “restore a sense of safety,” according to the press release.
“As crime rates across California decrease — including right across the Bay in San Francisco — Oakland is seeing the opposite trend. What’s happening in this beautiful city and surrounding area is alarming and unacceptable. I’m sending the California Highway Patrol to assist local efforts to restore a sense of safety that the hardworking people of Oakland and the East Bay demand and deserve,” Newsom said.
CHP’s focus will be on “auto theft, cargo theft, retail crime, violent crime, and high-visibility traffic enforcement” and officers will use technology to read license plates to “identify and recover stolen vehicles,” according to the press release. Some of the officers will also make up specialized units such as K9 teams and “air support” and will increase police presence by 900%.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said that the “surge” of criminal activity in his city is “completely unacceptable” and thanked Newsom for “providing these critical law enforcement resources that are a game-changer in helping us hold more criminals accountable and make Oakland safer,” according to the press release.
The governor’s decision comes after he sent six CHP officers and a police sergeant to Oakland in August to get crime under control, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Since then the additional police presence resulted in the arrests of 100 people and the recovery of almost 200 stolen cars last year.
In November, Newsom argued during a debate with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that California was doing better on violent crime than Florida. However, FBI data revealed that the combined rates for homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault in 2022 for California were 499.5 offenses per 100,000 individuals, with the national average at 380.7 and Florida’s coming in at 258.9.
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