Oakland mayor asks governor for freeway cameras, license plate readers to deter crime

Cars driven recklessly at illegal sideshows. Roving caravans of robbers invading pharmacies, stores and marijuana dispensaries. Young victims killed in freeway shootings, like 2-year-old Jasper Wu and two teenage girls on a party bus.

"We need the state's partnership," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf after reciting a litany of recent crimes that have shocked the region.

Schaaf said these kinds of crimes can be solved and prevented with technology. On Tuesday the mayor wrote Gov. Gavin Newsom with a formal request: "The installment of security cameras, including license plate readers, on our state highways as well as on- and off-ramps."

The mayor said she plans to reach out to other Alameda County mayors to rally their support.

"This new technology has got to be deployed so we can address the regional nature of these coordinated criminal attacks," Schaaf said.

Hercules City Councilmember Dan Romero lauded Schaaf's request.

"As we see the state sitting on a pretty good amount of money, why not just take those steps to protect our public?" said Romero, an outspoken supporter of freeway surveillance.

Cameras, license plate readers and shot spotters have been in place for several years along Interstate 80 and Highway 4 in Contra Costa County.

"It's a no-brainer, and it shouldn't just stop with Interstate 880 and 580, it should be throughout the whole Bay Area at this point," Romero said.

Contra Costa County prosecutor Mary Knox helped secure funding from the state for the cameras.

"That funding model should be easy to replicate," Knox said. "We kind of pioneered the way, and hopefully others can learn from what we've already accomplished."

Schaaf said she hopes the governor will act soon.

"The governor is preparing a budget that will be released in January, so now seems like a good time to put in that request," the mayor said.

The governor's press office did not respond to a request for comment from KTVU on Tuesday.