CHP will deploy officers in Oakland to help fight crime; critics say data shows it hasn't worked

The California Highway Patrol on Tuesday announced it will deploy officers in Oakland to help fight crime, partnering with Oakland police to combat an increase in criminal activity – though some community activists say in the past, this move hasn't worked. 

Specifically, the CHP said its officers will assist with vehicle theft, sideshows, highway violence and organized crime.  

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao made the request for assistance earlier this year. 

"I am grateful to Gov. Newsom for granting this request from me and the Oakland Police Department, with the goal of augmenting OPD's existing patrols and allowing our officers to further focus on violent crime and urgent City needs," Thao said in a statement. 

A specific timeline for when CHP officers are being deployed was not immediately available. 

In addition, Thao said Oakland $1.2 million in state funding to accelerate the purchase and installation of automated license plate readers, which will help police collect evidence and solve crime.

CHP officers have been deployed in San Francisco since May as part of a strategy to crack down on drugs. 

But the move to add additional police officers in Oakland didn't sit well with Cat Brooks, co-founder and executive director of the Anti Police-Terror Project. 

"When will our elected officials start making data driven decisions to address violence and increase public safety in our communities?" she asked in a statement. "Governor Newsom’s decision to send California Highway Patrol Officers to Oakland is not rooted in effective violence prevention policies or data, but rather is a lazy attempt to suggest action while endangering the people of Oakland."

She implored elected leaders to "look at the data," to see that when former Mayor Libby Schaaf brought in the CHP "no less than three times over the course of her two terms in office," the data showed that "the presence of these officers did not result in a noticeable decrease in violent crime."

Brooks also emphasized that the rise in crime was not created by the "Defund" movement, of which she was a part of.

In fact, the Oakland Police Department was never defunded in a budget cycle – although there was talk to do so.

In fact, the police budget grew by nearly $40 million, as resources to the Department of Violence Prevention shrank, Brooks pointed out. 

"Right now, I am terrified for the people of Oakland," Brooks said. "The California Highway Patrol is an agency marred with countless instances of racial profiling, harassment, assault and murder against Black and Brown Californians. "

In Brooks' opinion, the current crime crisis in Oakland is the "result of severe divestment in working class Black and Brown communities."

To remedy this, Brooks and other Black leaders are demanding that the city invest in jobs, housing and basic social services to help those most in need. 


Mayor Sheng Thao's vehicle among those broken into near Oakland's Grand Lake Theater

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