With smash-and-grab auto burglaries up a stunning 40% over the last year in Oakland, police claim their new crackdown is getting results, with seven car break-in suspects arrested in three separate incidents last Thursday.
NBC Bay Area ran a report Tuesday on the massive 40% spike in car break-in burglaries in Oakland over the past year, an ongoing crime spree that has left residents exasperated. “It happens everyday, it happens to my employees, it happens to my customers, it happens all the time. It's blatant and it's out of control,” Oakland small business owner Joyce Tang told the station. “And I’m angry that it's only gotten worse.”
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and the Oakland PD held a joint press conference last Thursday, to announce the arrests of ten alleged gang members tied to carjackings and armed robberies, and to say that there would be a big crackdown coming. That crackdown may be yielding results, as Bay City News reports Oakland police arrested seven car burglary suspects on the very day of last Thursday’s press conference.
In their second joint press conference with Mayor Thao in six days (seen above) Oakland PD lieutenant Eriberto Perez-Angeles said the police “conducted an operation with the specific intent to locate and arrest individuals involved with auto burglaries.” And it being Oakland, there were burglaries for them to bust.
Per Bay City News, these were three separate, unrelated car theft incidents Thursday. In the first, undercover officers observed two suspects committing a burglary on the 3300 block of Grand Avenue, called in air support, and arrested the two suspects after a foot pursuit.
Later that day, officers say they caught two suspects in the act of cutting off the catalytic converter of a parked car. Officers intervened, and the suspects jumped into a getaway car, intentionally ramming a police vehicle. But police pursued the vehicle to the 100 block of Eighth Street and managed to arrest both suspects. They found three catalytic converters inside the suspects' vehicle, which they also determined had been stolen.
In the third incident, officers saw two suspects who appeared to be scouting vehicles to steal from, and while observing, noticed their vehicle had apparently stolen plates. They tried to pull the vehicle over, the suspects fled, and with air support, they tracked the vehicle to the 4500 block of MacArthur Boulevard and arrested three suspects. Officers recovered two firearms from the vehicle, plus items from other previous car burglaries, and surprise, that vehicle too was apparently stolen.
The guns and the car-ramming show that the seemingly non-violent crime of car break-ins is becoming much more violent. “What is generally known as a non-violent crime of auto burglary, has become something that is a lot more dangerous for police and for the community,” Interim Assistant Police Chief Tony Jones said at the press conference. “Which is why we are going to keep these enhanced operations up.”
Mayor Thao added that Oakland would be placing 300 new surveillance cameras citywide, thanks to a grant from Governor Newsom, and she said those cameras would be up in “a month and a half.”
Image: Oakland Police Department via Facebook