Auto Theft: Oakland #6 in United States
Out of 336 metropolitan areas across the United States, the Oakland area is number six for motor vehicle theft in 2004. Areas were ranked by the number of thefts per thousand residents, using data from the National Crime Information Center.
The actual number of stolen cars is growing rapidly:
Source: OPD, http://www.oaklandnet.com/cw/pdf/HistoricalData.htm
About one out of every sixteen Oakland households suffered a vehicle theft. On average, that's you or a family on your block – and the same for every block in Oakland.
National distinction in auto theft is another amenity provided by the City of Oakland, which has let our police department staffing fall to half that of most major cities. For nearly three years the city council froze police hiring. Then the council said to the residents, we need your help, please take on another parcel tax (Measure Y), and we will give you 802 police. The voters agreed in November 2004, but the number of officers has fallen, not increased, to below 700. Pay more, get less, lose your car. That's what happens when councilmembers refuse to make public safety the first priority of city government.
NOTE: We have corrected an earlier version of this page which identified statistics for Oakland with numbers for the Census Bureau's Oakland metropolitan statistical area. We apologize for the confusion.
– Nov. 13, 2005; revised June 2, 2006
The Statistic Comes Home
A report from an ORPN member:
A neighbor told me his car was stolen Friday evening between 7:30 and 10 p.m. The silver Honda was parked in front of his house.
I know Oakland ranks as the number six city in the country for auto thefts, but it's different when you know the neighbors and the background.
Their home is near the intersection of Penniman and 38th Avenues. Street dealing, pimping and prostitution spiked up a year ago when a lifetime criminal set up operations out of the 5-plex at 3809 Penniman. We reclaimed this intersection in the late 1990s, but now it is at risk again. Back then we worked with a dedicated community policing officer for beat 24-Y. This year we have only one problem solving officer (PSO) who tries to work the ten beats of PSA4! Still, she managed to put away one dealer and cool things down for awhile. But the City plans to remove all PSOs and put them into patrol.
I don't know who stole my neighbor's car, but I know that the crime environment flourishes with increased traffic of drug dealers and clients; street pimps, prostitutes, and johns; and drifters who worm their way into the scene one way or another.
This incident brings home the connection between the lowlife criminals who prey on the folks in the flatlands and the city councilmembers who have reduced our police department for years. Things are approaching the breaking point.
– Dec. 10, 2005