The Highway Patrol is in Oakland primarily to make traffic stops and although that may not sound all that important, a minor stop could prevent a major crime. "That truck there has no license plate on the front. He may have it in his dashboard, but that's still an infraction," CHP Ofc. Dan Hill said while cruising down Oakland's International Boulevard looking for probable cause. With the weekend fast approaching, the goal for him and his fellow officers was to keep an eye out for trouble, before it starts. Stopping a violent crime can begin with a traffic stop.
"Drive-by shootings and other incidents happen in vehicles, and they have to get to and from those locations. You can often times find somebody with the fruits of their crimes in the vehicles, say, somebody who just committed a robbery," Hill said.
"As a matter of fact, last night we had 11 arrests which included driving under the influence, driving a stolen vehicle, warrant arrests, and drug violations," said CHP Ofc. Sam Morgan.
The CHP and Oakland police won't reveal exactly how many CHP units are in the city or where they will be deployed, but their presence alone gives law enforcement higher visibility in hot spots. "Many shootings, many homicides where guns are related, obviously, those guns have to be transported to and from scenes of crimes. Often, we find that individuals or groups do so by vehicles," OPD Sgt. Chris Bolton said.
Jose Vega's young children attend Acorn Woodland Elementary where on Friday there was a health and safety fair featuring both Oakland police and the Highway Patrol. While people there enjoyed seeing the CHP chopper up close, it's the additional officers down on the street that she appreciates most. "If the Highway Patrol is going to be around, I think it's going to be much better, because we've been having problem over here in Oakland in the area I live," Vega said.
Alameda County sheriff's deputies were also supposed to step up patrols in Oakland hot spots, but that hasn't started yet. One other piece of the Oakland's crime-fighting strategy includes a new Nixle Tip Watch program that allows people to anonymously text in tips about crimes they may have witnessed. It started earlier this month and so far, they have received several dozen tips.
You can pass along anonymous tips to the OPD by texting "TipOaklandPD" to 888-777.