In Oakland, Ca., a city already marred by violent crimes, carjackings occur two to three times more frequently than in other cities of comparable size, an analysis by the San Francisco Chronicle found. From 2005 through 2007, the first three years Oakland police tracked the crime, 884 carjackings were reported in the city of 400,000 residents. By comparison, in San Francisco, a city with roughly twice the population, 334 carjackings occurred during the same time period.
“It’s a real problem for the city,” said Volkan Topalli, a criminologist at Georgia State University who researches carjacking. “But it’s a reflection of what’s going on in Oakland at all levels, economically and in terms of education, demographics, population and so on.” At the request of The Chronicle, Topalli compared Oakland’s carjacking data only to cities that had numbers on file: New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis, Boston, and St. Louis. Oakland’s average number of carjacking victims – 7.35 per 10,000 persons annually – exceeds the national average of 1.7 victims per 10,000 persons, said a survey from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2002, the last year the federal government studied the crime.