CHP to patrol Richmond neighborhoods

February 6, 2008 6:29:33 PM PST
California Highway Patrol officers are now patrolling the streets of Richmond to help police stop the city's escalating violence.

California Highway Patrol officers are now patrolling the streets of Richmond to help police stop the city's escalating violence.

Officers will be patrolling the streets of Richmond three times a week for three months.

Their specialty: making aggressive traffic stops in high crime areas where they may find guns, drugs and parole violators.

"We'll be attempting to ID violent criminals offenders and drug activity and pretty much anything that Richmond police ask us to help them out with," said CHP Public Affairs Officer Sam Morgan

In the summer of 2005, CHP officers came to Richmond as part of a task force called Operation Impact.

"When the officers were present there was no violence as they left we got to our regular manpower and we saw the crime rate climb back," said Lt. Mark Gagan from Richmond Police.

Richmond police acknowledge this is a short term strategy but they need to do something now.

"Its necessary based on the fact we've had 27 homicides in Richmond in the last three months," said

The CHP has been called in before to help other cities. They've bolstered patrols in Oakland for the past six months.

Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente believes they've helped cut down crime.

"When you stop people, search their cars and find no drivers license or the carry weapons, carry drugs, it's a very effective tool," said Ignacio De La Fuente from Oakland City Council.

Michael Sanders owns Big Poppa's Giant Burgers in West Oakland, which has been a hot spot for CHP patrols on weekends.

He says they've been effective.

"I see them all through the nights here 24 hours busy stopping cars right along here," said Oakland restaurant owner Michael Sanders.

Those we spoke with believe the CHP presence does work but only as a temporary measure.

Celsa Snead heads the mentoring center, a group that works with troubled youngsters in Oakland and Richmond.

"In terms of a sustained violence prevention effort, it needs to be more of collaboration," said Snead.

ABC7's Vic Lee: "With the community?"

"Yes absolutely," said Snead.

The CHP presence in Richmond will last until April. If it's successful, city officials can ask for the deployment to continue for another six months.

Richmond Police tell us they need 200 officers to be effective on the streets. They're about 50 cops short so they say the addition of a dozen CHP officers definitely helps their proactive strategy to get felons, guns and drugs off the streets.


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