California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the deployment of state prosecutors to address the escalating crime rates in Oakland, particularly attributed to the policies of District Attorney Pamela Price. Violent crime in Alameda County has surged by nearly 20% in 2023 compared to 2019, leading to the closure of businesses like In-N-Out due to rampant criminal activities.
Price has faced criticism for advocating liberal policies, including reduced jail terms, in an effort to promote equity within the city. In response to the alarming crime statistics, Newsom aims to bolster law enforcement capacity in Oakland and the East Bay by deploying state attorneys to investigate, analyze, and prosecute suspects involved in violent, property, serious drug-related crimes, retail theft, and auto burglary.
Alameda County currently ranks among the highest crime rates in the United States, according to Neighborhood Scout. Analysts speculate that Newsom’s crackdown on crime may be driven by his potential presidential aspirations, recognizing that crime-ridden cities like Oakland could become targets for political opponents.
In a statement, Newsom emphasized that mere arrests are insufficient, asserting that justice demands appropriate prosecution. He stated, “Whether it’s ‘bipping’ or carjacking, attempted murder or fentanyl trafficking, individuals must be held accountable for their crimes using the full and appropriate weight of the law.”
Price, who faces a recall from dissatisfied voters, expressed support for the governor’s plan during a recent press conference. She acknowledged the partnership with the governor’s office and the attorney general, highlighting the additional resources allocated for prosecuting violent crimes, narcotics activities, and auto theft. Three deputies will be assigned to Price’s office, reporting to prosecutor Mike Nieto.
Newsom’s initiative comes amidst a surge in crime rates in Oakland, with distressing videos of carjackings, including a brutal assault on a 67-year-old woman, circulating last month. The victim suffered severe injuries after being pistol-whipped and dragged across the pavement by two young men.
Price assumed the role of Alameda County District Attorney in January 2023, running on a platform that promised progressive policies, such as shorter prison sentences and refraining from charging juveniles as adults.