As Oakland gets more restless over the city's current crime spike, Mayor Sheng Thao and the Oakland police held a Thursday press conference making a big to-do over the arrest of ten alleged gang members they say were running a significant carjacking and robbery ring.
There’s no question that crime is up across the board in Oakland, in spikes well beyond what any other Bay Area city is seeing. According to the latest numbers, Oakland has seen a 21% increase in violent crime over the last year, plus a 30% increase in robbery and burglaries, and a 51% increase in car thefts over that period. Mayor Sheng Thao has only been in office for nine of those 12 months, so you can’t say it’s all her fault. But her performance on the crime issue is surely the main metric by which her city is going to judge her effectiveness.
That may be why Thao was on hand for a big Thursday press conference with police officers, where NBC Bay Area reports the Oakland Police Department announced the arrest of ten alleged gang members whom they say were involved in a significant carjacking and armed robbery ring.
“We will take and we are unafraid of taking enforcement actions on those who continue to engage in violence and engage in traumatizing our communities,” Thao said at the press conference. And in a nod to public pressure, she added, “And I know that, as your mayor, the buck stops with me.”
The gang in question was apparently known as Ghost Town. According to Oakland police captain Tony Jones, “This particular group of individuals have been involved in a series of carjackings, armed robberies, burglaries, and have a history of engaging in these crimes throughout the Bay Area.”
The arrests were an effort of what the City of Oakland calls their Ceasefire Strategy, which they say “focuses on the most violent gangs/groups and individuals who are at the greatest risk of shooting or being shot.”
According to Captain Jones, “Ceasefire has begun to shift the focus to incorporate crimes — not just shootings and homicides, but also the armed robberies and any violent crime involving a firearm.”
Nine of the arrested suspects have been charged by the Alameda County DA’s office with weapons possession. Jones added that “One of the individuals of the nine that were arrested also had a warrant for an attempted homicide,” so there may be more charges to come. The tenth suspect is a minor, and has not yet been charged.
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