Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has struck a deal with Gov. Gavin Newsom to have California Highway Patrol officers deployed to her city as violent crime is on the rise.
The CHP will send six officers and a sergeant to Oakland to help address vehicle theft, sideshows, highway violence, and organized crime. The deployment will allow Oakland police to focus on violence in the city.
Overall, crime is up 26 percent from the same time last year while violent crime is up 15 percent, according to police data. Slayings are down 8 percent, but robberies and rapes are up 22 and 12 percent, according to the data.
“Strong partnerships are critical in making our city safer,” Thao said in a statement this past Thursday. “Our comprehensive community safety approach includes both accountability for those who commit crime as well as prevention and deterrence efforts to stop crime before it occurs.”
Oakland is also getting an advance from the state of $1.2 million to more quickly install automated license plate readers to help police collect criminal evidence.
“Thank you, Governor @GavinNewsom for answering the call of #Oakland community members and businesses for the state to increase public safety resources in #Oakland,” former Oakland City Councilmember and 2022 mayoral candidate Loren Taylor said on X (formerly Twitter). “The add’l CHP officers will absolutely help along with the $ loan to the city for ALPRs.”
‘People are scared’
But not everyone is as excited.
“I’m at a loss,” said Cat Brooks, co-founder and executive director of the Anti Police-Terror Project, which works to eradicate police terror in communities of color. “There is a crisis. People are scared.”
But she is frustrated that city officials are not using data to address crime.
She argued that the last three times the CHP was brought to Oakland, the deployment didn’t cause a significant drop in crime.
“The crisis we face now is due to a lack of investment in the services and resources proven to keep our communities safe,” Brooks said in a statement. “The safest communities are the most resourced, not the most policed.”
But from an early age, people are sold the lie that police keep us safe, she said, and the state wants to maintain that status quo.
Brooks cited jobs, violence prevention and housing initiatives as at least some of the resources and services that maintain safety.
Brooks said most people are committing crimes so they can survive. Formerly incarcerated people need living wage jobs. Youth summer jobs programs helps prevent crime, too, she said.
The CHP deployment will put the lives and Black and Hispanic people at risk because traffic stops are the main way to funnel them into the criminal justice system, Brooks added.