Newsom sends 120 CHP officers to fight crime in Oakland

(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Newsom sends 120 CHP officers to fight crime in Oakland

California Politics

Taryn Luna
Hannah Wiley

February 6, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom

planning to

announce on Tuesday that he will send 120




troll officers to Oakland


a new state law enforcement campaign


With a rise in violent crime and theft that has put political pressure on politicians, Democrats divided and amplified criticism of California’s criminal justice policies.



The announcement comes amid a barrage of recent headlines about Oakland’s crime rates, business closures and campaigns to remove the city’s mayor and Alameda County’s chief prosecutor from office. The problems in Oakland and blatant retail crime in major California cities have sparked debate over whether Proposition 47, a ballot measure, should be reformed.

voters approved

in 2014, a number of drug and theft crimes were reduced to misdemeanors as a way to reduce incarceration rates and encourage people to search

go inside


“What is happening in this beautiful city and surrounding area is alarming and unacceptable,” Newsom said in a statement. “I am deploying the California Highway Patrol to support local efforts to restore the sense of safety that the hardworking people of Oakland and the East Bay demand and deserve.

According to the Oakland Police Department’s year-end crime report, violent crime is up 21% in 2023 compared to the previous year. The number of murders has exceeded 100 for the fourth year in a row.


The number of robberies grew by 38% and the number of burglaries by 23%. Motor vehicle theft increased by 45% in 2023 compared to the previous year.

So does the number of people who are homeless in Oakland


with almost 1,000




until 2022, up to a total of 5,055 people sleeping in tents, their cars, campers, abandoned buildings or


the streets.

Newsom’s Republican critics have clung to images of encampments under overpasses and along sidewalks.

as well as high-profile examples of companies like Oakland’s

In-N-Out burger

that they say they would close because of crime,

as examples of what they call lawlessness under his leadership. Both issues remain political vulnerabilities for Democrats and for the governor as he expands his national profile and eyes his next role in politics after he leaves office in 2027.

Despite growing concerns about crime, Newsom says early data suggests the increases are unique to Oakland, with violent crime rates in Los Angeles and San Francisco declining by 2023.

The governor’s office said Newsom’s law enforcement campaign in Oakland will increase CHP’s presence in the city and the East Bay by nearly 900% and will include advanced investigative technology such as license plate readers; and specialized units with police dogs and air support to tackle car theft, cargo theft, retail crime and violent crime.

The new focus on Oakland comes next


sent a pair of officers there in August at the request of local leaders, resulting in the arrest of 100 suspected criminals and the recovery of 193 stolen vehicles, according to his office. Newsom received another request for help in January when he met with a group of local business leaders and community activists.

The wave of crime and violence we are seeing on our streets is completely unacceptable, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said in a statement.

Thao said Oakland has also taken its own measures

to tackle the problem

such as stepping up law enforcement investigations, increasing police recruitment, and investing in community and violence intervention efforts.

Concerns about car burglaries and gun violence have had a ripple effect in the community, where Thao and Alameda County Dist. Atty. Pamela Price is all facing efforts to recall them from office.

Major Oakland companies such as Clorox, Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield have reportedly encouraged employees to be more cautious when coming into the office, citing concerns about crime.

Meanwhile, a list of companies, including


In-N-Out near Oakland

International A



and Dennys have announced closures due to worker safety concerns, although it is unclear whether this is exclusively the case


to crime issues or if undisclosed financial concerns contributed to their closure. In November, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the move of the Oakland As, the city’s last professional sports franchise, to Las Vegas, dealing another blow to the beleaguered city.

Frustrated voters and local activists in recent months have called on city officials to be more aggressive in their response to rising crime rates, pushing Thao to declare a state of emergency.

The Oakland chapter of the NAACP published a letter in July ridiculing so-called failed progressive policies

that is allowed

to allow street crime to flourish, and to call on politicians to act quickly to solve this problem

the problem


Oakland residents are fed up with our unbearable safety crisis, which is having an overwhelming impact on minority communities, the letter said. If there are no consequences for committing crimes in Oakland, crime will continue to rise.

In May, Newsom similarly deployed the California National Guard and California Highway Patrol to San Francisco to help combat drug dealing and dealing in some hard-hit parts of the city, such as the Tenderloin and South of Market.


. That effort had led to 460 arrests by the end of January, and approximately 18,000 grams of fentanyl and 5,000 grams of methamphetamine were seized, according to the governor’s office.

Newsom has continued to resist calls for reform of Proposition 47, including from moderate Democrats in the Capitol. Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) has made tackling property crime a top priority during his first full year in office, and several Democrats have introduced bills in recent years to dismantle parts of Proposition 47.

Critics have blamed the measure for increased crime rates over the past decade and have portrayed the law as a far-left policy that encourages crime because it reduces criminal penalties. Newsom dismisses the criticism as right-wing attacks misguided by a lack of data.

However, in January, Newsom called for a legislative package to address property crime problems, with a focus on professional thieves




Proposition 47 or

to lower

the $950 theft threshold leading to a misdemeanor. Newsom awarded more than $267 million to 55 California cities and counties

last year

to combat organized retail crime.

Oakland missed the deadline to apply for the funding.


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