Bay Area/ Oakland/ Politics & Govt
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Published on February 06, 2024
Gov. Newsom Orders 120 CHP Officers to Aid in Crime Surge in Oakland and East BaySource: Google Street View

In a bold move to combat the surge of criminal activity in Oakland and the East Bay, Governor Gavin Newsom has called in reinforcements, deploying a significant contingent of California Highway Patrol officers to the troubled areas. The newly launched law enforcement surge operation is set to include 120 CHP officers, who will join forces with local authorities to take on an array of crimes such as vehicle theft, retail theft, and violent crime, the Governor's office announced.

While crime rates have seen a general decline across California, issues in Oakland paint a stark contrast, leaving local government and community members calling for action, "What’s happening in this beautiful city and surrounding area is alarming and unacceptable," said Newsom and echoing this sentiment, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao added, "The surge of crime and violence that we are seeing in our streets is completely unacceptable," and praised the state's intervention as a potential "game-changer," according to statements obtained by the Governor's office.

The CHP's increased presence is promised to be varied and tech-savvy, utilizing license plate readers and specialized units, including K9s and air support; all these measures aim to create a nearly 900% boost in CHP personnel patrolling Oakland and Alameda County. This initiative is designed to strengthen the region's security without affecting services in surrounding areas, and the length of the operation will be decided in consultation with local law enforcement.

California, striving to foster a safer environment, has poured over $1.1 billion since 2019 into an array of initiatives, such as violence intervention programs like CalVIP, community school transformation, and support for small businesses. All these investments signal a deep commitment to the community's welfare and stand as a testament to the enduring partnership between the State and local agencies, yet despite these efforts, a troubling 2023 saw violent crime in Oakland jump 21%, robbery increase 38%, and vehicle thefts spike 45%, these statistics command attention in a city witnessing crime rates move inversely to the trend elsewhere, further bolstering the need for heightened enforcement actions.

Previous collaborations have seen positive outcomes, with CHP's intensified patrols in San Francisco yielding over 460 arrests and the confiscation of a staggering 18.1 kilograms of fentanyl. Newsom's administration remains adamant about combating crimes that plaque the community, calling for new legislation to expand criminal penalties and strengthen law enforcement tools against various forms of theft and criminal networks, events echoed by the Governor's office.