California Gov. Gavin Newsom (File)

California Dems Tout Decline In Violent City’s Crime Rate. But The Data Isn’t What It Seems

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (File)
By Wallace White. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (File)

While prominent California Democrats touted a supposed reduction in crime in Oakland, one of the state’s most notorious crime-ridden cities, the numbers they cited contained significant gaps in reporting, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom touted a 33% overall crime drop in Oakland in a June press release, with Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao also citing the figure in a May press release. However, the figure stems from incomplete year-to-date non-violent crime and burglary reports, according to the Chronicle’s analysis. The real decline may be closer to 20%, the outlet reported.

Non-violent crimes and burglaries get reported to the Oakland Police Department (OPD) through an online portal and take up to six weeks to appear in crime data, according to the Chronicle. The result is an underreported 2024 year-to-date crime figure, which artificially inflates the reported change in crime from the previous year.

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Lt. Barry Donelan, head of Oakland’s burglary and general crimes detail, said that the OPD is not trying to deliberately mislead the public, citing “decrepit IT infrastructure” as the reason for the delay in reporting, according to the Chronicle.

“There can be a delay in the overall number of reported property crimes based on our community’s use of the online reporting system,” an OPD spokesperson told the Chronicle. “Each of these online crime reports must be reviewed and verified by a member of our staff before being included in crime statistics.”

Each OPD weekly report contains a footnote stipulating, “Statistics can be affected by late reporting, the geocoding process, or the reclassification or unfounding of crimes. Because crime reporting and data entry can run behind, all crimes may not be recorded.”

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However, the OPD has not pushed to correct the record with those like Newsom and Thao who are taking the statistics at face value, according to the Chronicle.

“These results are a clear and concrete example of the effective partnership with state, local, and federal law enforcement in Oakland and the surrounding East Bay,” Newsom said in the June press release. “Ensuring the safety and security of Oakland residents, we will continue to make our communities safer by taking down crime and holding individuals accountable.”

“Oakland is turning the corner, and the public safety strategies the City has implemented are paying off,” Thao said in a May press release. “After years of rising crime rates, crime has decreased by more than 30% compared to last year and down 17% compared to the last three years.”

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Oakland has struggled with crime in recent years, with Oakland’s violent crime rate being three times more than the California average in 2022, according to Neighborhood Scout. Thao is currently facing a recall election in November, with crime being a key issue for Oakland residents who suffered a crime spike after Thao fired former Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

The OPD, Thao’s office and Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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First published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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