Increased crime rates in the Bay Area worry the community


Ananya Pinnamaneni

The recent increase in crime rates in the Bay Area concerns residents

While Danville and San Ramon have been known as some of the safest towns in California, the number of crimes in the Bay Area has increased in the past few years, causing multiple cities such as Stockton, Berkeley and San Francisco to be included in the list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Many residents of the Bay Area have recently seen or experienced some type of crime, indicating the increase of crimes in the general area.

The most common type of crime reported is property crime, which involves private property and includes larceny, burglary, arson, shoplifting and vandalism. Recently, there have been many cases involving burglaries, shoplifting and larceny in the Bay Area, and specifically in the Danville and San Ramon region.

Mauricio Mora, a resident in the Bay Area, has noticed people talking more about thefts on the app Nextdoor. He says that he’s been noticing more news about crimes such as robberies or stolen cars in the last year specifically.

“It’s kind of sad that I’ve been hearing more and more things, especially in the area where it’s considered to be more easy and calm,” said Mora. He adds that there wasn’t any big news in the Bay Area before, but has been hearing of a lot more in the past year.

On Nextdoor, many posts warning those of the community about crimes come up daily. For instance, Ravi Kumar wrote about how a car pulled up next to his father, who was on a walk, and simply took his ring and drove off in broad daylight, while Caren Nelson had their bag, car keys and her wallet stolen while helping a man with a baby carrier at Whole Foods in October this year.

Additionally, Kevin Yi, a resident of San Ramon, has also commented on this, saying that he’s heard an increase in rumors about cars being broken into and car parts being stolen following quarantine and many losing jobs. 

Many residents that park their cars outside their homes instead of in their garage have experienced their catalytic converter being stolen from their car in the Bay Area. Yi has also said that his catalytic converter was stolen off of his car in the evening in December 2020.

“I’ve heard a lot about it being stolen before the incident, and when I saw that they had stolen it, the first thing that I thought was that it was financially difficult for people to live,” said Yi. “The catalytic converter is an expensive part, around $3,000, mainly because it is made of expensive and valuable metal. So just by selling it, the people stealing it can earn a lot of money.”

Furthermore, Mora has experienced being threatened with a gun while driving on the freeway. He was attempting to change lanes after seeing some debris on the road, when a car that changed lanes from the far left lane suddenly pulled a gun out and pointed it towards Mora’s car.

“The driver merged into the lane on my right, and he was yelling something at us as we passed by, and then he slowed down and merged into the lane on my left, where he sped up to catch up with our car pointing a gun at our car,” said Mora. “I immediately hit my brakes because we were going at the same speed so he would keep going, but he had his sunroof open to pull the gun to the sunroof. He may have been to scare us, or maybe he was just willing to shoot someone.”

Following the incident, Mora reported it to 911, and a few days later, he saw an article about someone who was caught doing the same thing as he experienced. The article stated that the person that had threatened Mora with a gun had fired the gun at another car on the highway.

“When we talked to the CHP, they were telling us that 15 years ago, they would get reports of someone pulling a gun on the freeway about once every six weeks,” said Mora. “Now they get about 10 reports every month.”

According to CNN, the number of crimes involving gun use has increased by 9% compared to last year. Additionally, the number of homicides has increased by 30% from 2019 to 2020, the highest increase since the 1960s. 

“There’s been an increase in every type of crime. People are desperate given the economic situation so people are coming from out of town and mostly committing property thefts and crimes,” said Officer Ray Hamilton, a police officer at the San Ramon Police Department. “There’s been a national trend of increase, and in San Ramon, Danville and Livermore, [there’s] mostly property crimes.”

“I think from COVID-19 and the money that the government has been giving, people have been losing jobs, and those who weren’t able to get that support were living in a difficult situation,” Yi said. “So they committed crimes to help support themselves and their families.”

With the increasing amounts of crimes that are both property crimes and life-threatening crimes in a considerably safe area, it has caused many to start worrying more about their property and their safety.

“California in general is such a nice place to be and I would like for it to stay that way,” said Mora. “And I just hope that we continue to be that way to be safe.”