California Gov. Gavin Newsom in San Francisco on Feb. 9, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta have dispatched state prosecutors to Oakland and the East Bay in an effort to “boost criminal prosecutions,” the leaders announced
The state launched a new partnership with Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price to increase the ability to prosecute suspects involved in violent crimes, serious drug-related crimes, and property crimes, including retail theft and auto burglary.
State deputy attorneys general from the California Department of Justice and attorneys from the California National Guard will also be deployed to Alameda County, the governor announced.
“An arrest isn’t enough,” Mr. Newsom said in a press release. “Justice demands that suspects are appropriately prosecuted.”
Mr. Bonta, who lives in Oakland, said the partnership would help hold criminals accountable.
“The East Bay is my home, and I’m committed to ensuring that the people of Oakland can live and work in a safe community,” Mr. Bonta said in the press release. “The California Department of Justice has legal and law enforcement expertise to bring to bear as we work collaboratively to hold bad actors accountable.”
A number of businesses have closed
in San Francisco Bay Area cities over safety concerns for employees and customers. Most recently, Denny’s shuttered its long-standing restaurant in Oakland on Jan. 31, citing safety concerns.
An In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 23, 2024. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Before that, the In-N-Out burger chain’s location in Oakland closed its doors after nearly two decades because of increased crime.
Sugarsweet Bakery in Oakland shut down Jan. 31 after four years in business, saying rampant crime and low foot traffic had made it impossible to continue.
Growing crime has also prompted residents to call for the city to declare a state of emergency.
The state Department of Justice has independent prosecutorial authority and is expected to prosecute significant cases by targeting major criminal networks in Oakland and the East Bay, according to the governor.
The announcement follows Mr. Newsom’s decision
Feb. 6 to deploy 120 California Highway Patrol officers to Oakland. In August 2023, the governor deployed CHP officers to Oakland and also lent the city $1.2 million to improve public safety.
The Oakland operation resulted in the arrest of 100 suspects and the recovery of 193 stolen vehicles, according to the governor’s press release.
Violent crime in the city jumped 21 percent last year compared with 2022, according to the Oakland Police Department’s end-of-year crime report. Nearly every statistical category of crime shows an increase from 2022.
Robberies rose 40 percent across the board, and robberies involving firearms increased by 50 percent. Residential robberies also jumped by 71 percent last year.
Auto theft also increased 45 percent from 2022 and 229 percent from 2019. About 15,000 cars were stolen in 2023.
“The surge of crime and violence that we are seeing in our streets is completely unacceptable,” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said in a Feb. 6 statement.