State Watch

Oakland mayor asks state for help to fight violent crime

Associated Press/Jeff Chiu

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) has requested help from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to better catch criminals in the area. 

Schaaf wrote to Newsom asking that he use license plate readers on the ramps of state highways and increase the presence of California’s Highway Patrol in and around Oakland in an effort to locate criminals. The mayor also asked for the state’s highway patrol Retail Theft Task Force to look into recent robberies in the area. 

“The primary mode of transportation for those committing the violent crimes are vehicles that are often stolen or have switched license plates, many of whom travel into and throughout Oakland on the highways and main thoroughfares,” the mayor asserted. 

 

This year, Schaaf said, there had been 131 homicides in Oakland. She also noted that carjackings have increased by 77 percent, and robberies by 46 percent. 

“The need for a system that can capture vehicle descriptions and alert law enforcement to vehicles associated with violent crime, in real time, has never been more apparent,” Schaaf said.

“Such technology can multiply law enforcement efforts in a focused, intelligence-based manner, while still balancing the important privacy interests of the community,” she added.

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson from the Governor’s Press Office said, “The administration is currently in the budget process, and is committed to adding more resources to crack down on crime rings.”

To protect shoppers and businesses, Governor Newsom directed the CHP to increase their presence near popular retail areas statewide,” the spokesperson added.

California’s Bay Area has recently seen a rash of smash-and-grab robberies at high-end stores. 

Police have said that some of the incidents were planned on Snapchat, with thieves potentially attracted to the social media app’s ability to make messages disappear. Snapchat, however, has said it found no evidence to support such claims.  

The Hill has reached out to Schaaf for comment. 

— Updated at 1:00 p.m.

Tags California Gavin Newsom Libby Schaaf Oakland

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