Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao Denies Crime Surge Amidst Accusations of Public Safety Crisis

Mayor Sheng Thao Responds to Crime Claims

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has refuted allegations of a crime surge during her tenure, despite a noticeable increase in robberies in the past year.

Police Data Reveals Mixed Picture

Contrary to Thao’s claims, data from the Oakland Police Department indicates that while total homicides saw a rise in 2019, rates have remained relatively stable in the three years since.

However, robbery incidents witnessed a substantial 38 percent increase between 2022 and 2023, with auto burglaries reaching a decade-high in 2023.

Video Footage and Home Invasion Concerns

The city faced heightened concerns over crime following shocking video footage of a woman being attacked during an attempted purse snatching.

Additionally, the Oakland Police Department issued a public safety advisory highlighting an increase in home invasion robberies, prompting recommendations such as trimming hedges and installing security systems.

Mayoral Strategies and Neighborhood Successes

Mayor Thao asserted that her office has implemented new neighborhood strategies, leading to a reported 42 percent decrease in robberies, 32 percent decrease in auto burglaries, and a 38 percent decrease in theft in specific areas.

Ceasefire Program’s Revitalization Amidst Criticism

In response to rising crime rates, Thao’s office plans to reinvigorate the city’s ceasefire program, which connects individuals at high risk of gun violence with life coaches.

However, an audit suggests that the program’s effectiveness declined due to a gradual shift away from its core strategies.

Recall Efforts and Accusations

A group led by retired Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte issued an official notice of intent to recall Mayor Thao, accusing her of systematically dismantling the Oakland Police Department and creating a public safety crisis.

Detractors point to the firing of former police chief LeRonne Armstrong and the failure to appoint a successor as contributing factors.

Thao’s Response to Recall Campaign

Thao’s chief of staff, Leigh Hanson, dismissed the recall efforts as a campaign “led by losers.” Hanson expressed confidence in Thao’s leadership and urged Oaklanders to resist distraction, emphasizing the need for a focus on community progress.

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