Data indicates a decrease in the number of shootings occurring on California freeways

Recent data indicates a decrease in freeway violence incidents in the Bay Area, offering some relief for commuters following a surge in such incidents during the pandemic. However, the decline, although positive, does not eliminate the significance of the issue, as any number of incidents is concerning.

Dr. Lisa Hill, a professor of criminal justice and social work at Cal State East Bay, emphasized that even though the current numbers are lower, any instance of a freeway shooting is unacceptable, especially considering the tragic consequences such incidents can have, including the loss of innocent lives.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of freeway shootings in California more than doubled, peaking at 178 incidents. In contrast, the Bay Area has recorded 21 shootings so far in 2024. While the reduction in incidents is encouraging, Dr. Hill stressed the importance of addressing the underlying causes to prevent such violence in the future.

“District attorneys and police get involved after a victim has been affected. This issue extends beyond law enforcement,” Dr. Hill explained.

The Oakland highways, particularly along Interstate 880 and Interstate 580, have witnessed the highest number of shooting incidents.

“People are under strain, facing economic hardships, homelessness, and mental health challenges,” Dr. Hill noted. “All of these societal problems are concentrated in this small city.”

Since 2023, San Francisco has reported approximately twelve freeway shootings, whereas Oakland has experienced four times that number.

Despite the recent decline in freeway violence, Sophia, a resident impacted by such incidents, does not feel any safer.

“The impact has been immense, not only on our family but on the community,” Sophia shared.

She is the mother of 5-year-old Eliyanah Crisostomo, who tragically lost her life last year in a shooting on I-880 in Fremont while traveling with her family. Three gang members were charged for the shooting, believing the family’s car belonged to a rival gang.

“I will never see my daughter attend prom; everything was taken from her at just 5 years old,” Sophia expressed.

Sophia’s daughter’s case is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a reminder of the tragedy she experienced. Despite the anxiety, Sophia is determined to seek justice for her daughter.

“It causes me anxiety, but I must go and continue to fight for my daughter’s justice,” Sophia stated.

Councilmember Noel Gallo believes that progress must begin at the city level.

“Statistics are one thing, but what I see on the streets is another,” he remarked.

CHP is actively engaged in crime prevention efforts, aiming to address issues before they escalate onto the highways. Their presence in Oakland since August has focused on combating violent crime, resulting in numerous firearm recoveries and arrests.

Councilmember Gallo is advocating for an expanded CHP presence, recognizing the need for enforcement of state laws on highways, which differ from city laws. He emphasizes that CHP officers are unlikely to be lenient with violations such as driving without a license or speeding, highlighting the necessity of their presence in Oakland.

CHP is optimistic about the impact of 480 new license plate reader cameras, expecting further reductions in crime rates. They emphasize their commitment to public safety and collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies to identify and address trends in violent crimes.

While noting some improvement on the highways, Gallo believes there is still a significant way to go in enhancing safety.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.