Oakland police say they’re stepping up the crackdown on car break-ins.
On Tuesday, the agency outlined exactly what it’s doing to stop the so-called “bipping” in the town.
The smash-and-grab car burglaries have skyrocketed this year, jumping by more than 40% over last year and leaving drivers and businesses frustrated.
“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,” said Joyce Tang, an Oakland business owner. “And I’m angry that it’s only gotten worse.”
During a press conference Tuesday, OPD’s new acting Interim Assistant Chief Tony Jones and Mayor Sheng Thao announced the arrest of seven suspects connected to three different car burglaries last week.
Officers say they also recovered multiple guns and stolen property.
The arrests are part of an increased effort that includes putting undercover officers into high-crime areas to catch suspects in the act.
During one of the arrests, police say a suspect rammed a patrol car while trying to get away.
They say it’s just one of several OPD vehicles that were rammed by suspects in various type of arrests in the past two weeks.
“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. Which is why we are going to keep these enhanced operations up,” said Jones.
Police say despite staffing challenges they plan to continue the crackdown operations.
“We do have limited resources but we can manage them in a way so that we can do these on a very regular basis and that is what we are doing,” said Jones.
Driving around downtown it doesn’t take long to see the extent of the problem. Broken glass in parking spaces, taped up car windows, and some drivers now leaving all their windows down to prevent thieves from breaking them out.
Mayor Thao says she hopes more police academies, the reinstatement of foot patrols and $1.2 million of state funding to purchase 300 license plate reader cameras, will help address the spike in crime.
“We must and we will do more to hold accountable those individuals behind these crimes,” said Thao. “These crimes are not just acts of crime that don’t hurt anybody, this is harming our community at large.”
But some feel the city needs more help than current resources allow.
“I think the national guard should be called in,” said Nina Woodcock, who works in Oakland. “There is no way we are going to get new police right away, it’s not going to happen, it’s a six to 10 month process and we need help now.”
Source: NBC Bay Area