OAKLAND, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, Feb. 6, that he is increasing state law enforcement personnel in Oakland and the East Bay to combat rising crime, including cargo thefts.
The governor is also temporarily deploying California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers, including specialized units and advanced investigative technology, as part of the effort, a news release states.
The CHP will begin a law enforcement surge operation in Oakland and the East Bay, deploying 120 officers who will work in partnership with local law enforcement agencies on a targeted crackdown on criminal activity with a special focus on cargo theft, vehicle theft, retail theft and violent crime.
“As crime rates across California decrease — including right across the Bay in San Francisco — Oakland is seeing the opposite trend,” Newsom said. “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.”
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao called the rising violence and crime “completely unacceptable.”
“The City of Oakland is hard at work turning the tide — increasing law enforcement investigations, increasing police recruitment and investing in community and violence intervention efforts,” Thao said. “As we work to improve public safety, I’m grateful for Governor Newsom for providing these critical law enforcement resources that are a game-changer in helping us hold more criminals accountable and make Oakland safer.”
As part of this operation, the CHP will deploy license plate reader technology that will help identify and recover stolen vehicles, as well as specialized CHP units, including K9s and air support.
This enhanced law enforcement presence will represent a nearly 900% increase in CHP personnel in Oakland and within Alameda County, according to the news release.
CHP officials assured that this focused operation will not impact the service levels of the surrounding area.
The length of the operation will be determined in consultation with local law enforcement.
According to the governor’s news release, crime in Oakland is uniquely rising compared to other urban centers in California.
Preliminary reports from Oakland indicate that in 2023, violent crime rose 21%, robbery increased 38% and vehicle theft increased 45%. Outside of Oakland, preliminary 2023 data from across the state indicates the opposite trend: crime, including homicides, violent crime and property crime is down in many jurisdictions.
For example, violent crime and homicides are significantly down in Los Angeles, and early data from San Francisco indicate overall crime in 2023 was at its lowest point in the last ten years — other than the year 2020 when daily life and routines were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“California has invested $1.1 billion since 2019 to fight crime, help locals hire more police, and improve public safety, including in the East Bay,” the news release states.
Last month, Newsom called for new legislation to expand criminal penalties and bolster police and prosecutorial tools to combat theft and take down professional criminals who profit from smash and grabs, retail theft and car burglaries.
In 2023, as part of California’s Real Public Safety Plan, the governor announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in state history, an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.