A Comprehensive Approach to Public Safety to Build A Safer, Stronger East Bay for All
The East Bay faces a public safety crisis. Rising violent and property crime has left residents feeling unsafe in our homes and neighborhoods. We must address this crisis head-on, with both urgency and pragmatism, while putting forth solutions that adhere to our progressive values. And we must strive to avoid familiar strategies that have perpetuated historical disparities and failed to genuinely address root causes of crime. Mayor Jesse Arreguín’s public safety plan emphasizes commonsense, proven solutions–with a focus on prevention, deterrence, and accountability.
PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
- First and foremost, secure the funding we need to help cities recruit, retain, and train more community police officers. This must be a top priority for the state. As mayor, Jesse secured funding to fully staff his police department, improve training in constitutional policing and hire more officers from the community, who reflect our diversity–to enhance both community trust and public safety. Berkeley also launched a Law and Justice Academy in Berkeley High School to connect young people to careers in law enforcement. In the Senate, Jesse will work to secure state funding and grants to enable cities to recruit, train, and hire the next generation of community police officers.
- Increase investments in proven violence prevention programs to address root causes of crime. As mayor, Jesse helped launch a Ceasefire violence prevention program. But cities often lack resources to fully fund proven programs like this one. In the Senate, Jesse will make these critical programs a priority for localities in the East Bay and across the state.
- Create a regional task force to coordinate resources, data, and crime prevention strategies. As a mayor, Jesse knows it’s not about talk, but action. In the Senate, he’ll partner with local mayors, businesses, community, and faith leaders to better coordinate our approach to this regional crisis. That means better cross-jurisdiction communication, sharing of information, data, and resources, and coordinated investigations in order to prevent and reduce violent crime, property crime, and organized retail theft.
- Invest in our youth to create real alternatives to crime. Jesse will prioritize youth job training and placement programs, skills and jobs centers, after school, summer job, and mentorship programs for at-risk youth, in order to create opportunity and restore hope to underserved communities.
- Prioritize mental health services to support our most vulnerable and enable police to focus on violent crime. As mayor, Jesse passed historic reforms to shift responses to mental health emergencies and homelessness from police to trained social workers. He also knows incarcerating people with mental illnesses is counterproductive to rehabilitation. Jesse will prioritize mental health programs like mental health emergency reception centers (as alternatives to jail), transitional housing programs, and residential psychiatric care. Investing in these programs isn’t just the right thing to do for our most vulnerable, it helps interrupt the cycle of mental health, addiction, homelessness, and criminal activity, and will better enable our police to focus on the job they were hired for–preventing violent crime.
- Strengthen re-entry and anti-recidivism programs. If people returning home from prison don’t have real opportunities to re-enter society, they are more likely to fall back into a life of crime. In the Senate, Jesse will fight to direct prison funding towards job programs, housing, and other re-entry services.
INCREASE DETERRENCE BY BEING SMART ON CRIME
- Partner with cities to enhance crime prevention technology. Jesse will work to make sure cities get the resources they need to invest in smart prevention technologies like security and license plate reader cameras to deter crimes like breaking into vehicles (bipping) and business vandalism, while ensuring that we continue protecting privacy rights.
- Work with cities to improve their 9-1-1 technology and response times. Too many cities in the East Bay are struggling with outdated emergency response technology and understaffed 9-1-1 call centers. In the Senate, Jesse will work to bring critical resources to our cities to help them upgrade and staff up their emergency response systems so both residents and criminals will know that a 9-1-1 call will get a quick response.
- Create tax incentives to help small businesses upgrade their security and address damage caused by break-ins. Too many small businesses have been leaving the Bay Area as a result of increased retail theft and vandalism. In the Senate, Jesse will work to create tax incentives to enable small businesses to upgrade their security systems and help repair damage caused by criminal activity without creating additional financial hardship.
- Fight for stronger gun control laws. As mayor, Jesse banned untraceable ghost guns in his city. In the Senate, he will work to enact stronger gun control laws in California and protect existing laws from right wing attacks, including tougher laws to prevent domestic abusers from acquiring firearms. He’ll expand funding for proven gun buyback programs to help get more guns off our streets.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL
Work with online marketplaces to make it harder to resell stolen goods. Organized retail theft is a major problem across the Bay Area. And many of these criminal syndicates are then re-selling stolen merchandise online. In the Senate, Jesse will work with online marketplaces to improve the collection and tracking of information from third-party high-volume sellers to crack down on organized retail theft.
Increase penalties for Catalytic Converter theft and resale.
Strengthen our hate crime laws. Incidents of racial based hatred are up across the nation. After Trump was elected and white supremacists marched in our streets, Jesse’s office fought back by founding the Berkeley Stands United Against Hate campaign, which quickly spread around the region, state, and now the country. In the Senate, he’ll stand up to hate in all its forms and work to strengthen our hate crime laws.
Stand up for victims. Crime victims need stronger advocates in government. As our state senator, Jesse will fight for better victim advocacy and support services.
Ensure accountability for law enforcement too. As mayor, Jesse negotiated with the local police department to increase police oversight. While we must give our police departments the tools they need to prevent and respond to crime, we also need to hold law enforcement accountable when they violate public trust–whether it be in terms of excessive use of force or inefficient deployment of resources. That’s the approach Jesse will bring to the Senate.