CHP makes 355 arrests, recovers 726 stolen vehicles in Oakland, East Bay

New numbers released by Gov. Gavin Newsom's Office and the CHP on Wednesday showed a marked increase in arrests, recovered stolen vehicles and guns seized in Oakland and the East Bay during continuous law enforcement operations over the last three months.

The cooperation between local agencies and the CHP was ordered by Newsom on Feb. 14 to curb crime in the area. 

The latest numbers from operations in Oakland and the East Bay are:

  • 355 suspects arrested with alleged links to organized crime, carjackings and other crimes
  • 726 stolen vehicles recovered
  • 46 crime-linked firearms recovered

Newsom ordered an initial surge of 120 CHP officers into Oakland in February. 

Since then, CHP officials say they’ve been using resources to conduct operations in the East Bay using "intelligence and statistical data" and working with the Oakland Police Department.

"We're focusing on people that are committing auto theft, those that are involved in organized retail crime, violent crime," said Capt. Shawna Pacheco. "Those are the things that are basically impacting the communities the most. Through our partnerships and through our targeted efforts and statistical analysis, we're able to work so that we can make sure that we're putting our resources where they're needed."

Chris Iglesias, CEO of Unity Council, told KTVU that the newly released numbers are impressive.

He and a coalition of other community leaders met with Newsom earlier in the year to discuss safety concerns.

"They are impressive," said Iglesias. "What's more, I think, impressive is that the governor is focusing on Oakland and lending his support."

Support, however, is not coming from everywhere.

"This is what OPD should've been doing," said Cat Brooks of the Anti Police-Terror Project. "The fact that CHP can drive around Oakland, pop license plates, and recover stolen cars, lets you know that OPD could've been doing the same thing."

Brooks worries more police surveillance can adversely affect minority communities in the city. 

She also doesn't consider the number of arrests announced impressive.

"All of these are alleged," Brooks said. "These people have not been to court and people have not been convicted, so we need to stop saying these are solved cases."

The governor’s office says the suspects were arrested on a number of charges including possession of stolen property, auto theft, transportation of narcotics, DUI, and felony gun possession, as well as arrests for outstanding warrants.

Oakland city officials have been touting falling crime rates, compared to the same period last year. 

In part, they’re crediting violence prevention programs like Ceasefire as well as cooperation with the CHP. 

"The communities need to have a feeling of safety and security," said Captain Pacheco. "And make no mistake, that is one of our number one goals, as it is with many different agencies. We rely heavily on the partnerships."

There is no clear timeline for how long the CHP will continue its targeted operations in the East Bay. 

"We are looking to continue our efforts to support the communities," said Pacheco. "The communities need and want and are crying out to feel safe. It is all of our jobs, whether you're in law enforcement or a citizen or a business owner, we're all working together."

The governor also announced in March that a total of 480 new license plate reader cameras will be installed along Oakland and East Bay freeways. The goal is to help identify vehicles linked to crimes. 

While some welcome the additional resources, some have privacy concerns and believe the money could be better spent on more violence prevention programs.