A couple of years ago Oakland appeared to have turned a corner with its violent crime. The number of reported homicides had sharply declined, with many experts and city officials crediting the Operation Ceasefire program that focused on individuals with a heightened risk of becoming both offender and victim. Then the one-two punch of COVID-19 and civil unrest hit, and like many other Democratic-run cities around the nation, Oakland became a city on fire and it hasn’t come close to recovering in the months since. Homicides in January of this year were a staggering 1,400% higher than in January of 2020, and the yearly total is up about 100% compared to last year.
Retired police officer Kevin Nashita is one of the latest victims of criminal violence in Oakland. The man, who was working as an armed security guard, was watching over a news crew reporting on a recent smash-and-grab robbery last week when the crew themselves were targeted.
“We are devastated by the loss of security guard and our friend, Kevin Nishita. Our deepest sympathy goes to Kevin’s wife, his children, his family, and to all his friends and colleagues,” KRON-TV’s vice president and general manager, Jim Rose, said in a statement issued Saturday.
Nishita was an armed guard for Star Protection Agency and provided security for television news crews in the region, who are often targeted by robbers for their equipment.
He was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’s camera equipment near downtown Oakland on Wednesday, police said.
A reward of $32,500 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in Nishita’s killing.
Nishita was a police officer for the cities of Hayward, San Jose, Colma before retiring in 2018. The Alameda County Sheriff’s office said deputies escorted his body from the hospital with full law enforcement honors.
“This senseless loss of life is due to yet another violent criminal act in the Bay Area. We hope that offering a reward will help lead to the arrest of those responsible so they can face justice for this terrible tragedy,” Rose said.
In response to Nishita’s murder as well as several other high-profile violent crimes, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced that the department would be putting more officers on the street, though few details were released.
OPD will have additional staffing to address the increase in violent crime. Several tactical teams will support the patrol officers who are responding to armed caravans, illegal sideshows & other violent crimes. The tactical teams are highly skilled in de-escalating incidents. pic.twitter.com/WE49IaWtdp
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) November 28, 2021
More cops in high-crime neighborhoods would be helpful, but you know what would be even better? If the city of Oakland and Alameda County actually recognized the right to bear arms in self-defense. The county is so restrictive with its issuance of carry permits that it’s unfair to call the system “may issue.” It’s actually more of a “you’re not gonna get a permit so don’t even bother applying” policy. Just 162 residents applied for a carry permit in 2020, and that was more than double the number who applied in 2019. Chief Armstrong has famously said that the city wants “good witnesses” and not armed citizens, but I imagine there are a lot of Oakland residents who’d prefer to be both.
Carrying a firearm isn’t a foolproof way to protect yourself, but it definitely increases the odds of you surviving an encounter with an armed violent criminal. It’s also our right as American citizens to bear arms in self-defense; a right being denied to thousands of Oakland residents who would like to have a fighting chance against the criminals who are already armed and illegally carrying guns on the streets of the city. Unfortunately, the odds of Alameda County voluntarily adopting a “shall issue” system are about as good as Gavin Newsom running for president as a Republican in 2024. Hopefully the Supreme Court will issue a strong enough opinion in NYSPRA v. Bruen next year that all “may issue” systems around the country will be tossed out as unconstitutional, but that day can’t come soon enough for the besieged citizens in Oakland.