As if living in the San Francisco Bay isn’t extreme enough, residents living in houseboats and yachts in the area are now having to resort to defending their property against seafaring bandits who’ve taken up residence in the area. These criminals are stealing boats, sink them, and looting the vessels, with no apparent police support in site.
The Oakland-Alameda Estuary has long been a hub for marinas and other marine activity, but a population of homeless individuals has recently settled in the waters, bringing with them an increased risk of theft and crime. The people who call this area their home, are now voicing the dangers of these criminal activities and demanding local authorities take action.
Brock de Lappe, a former harbor master, noted during a municipal meeting that the waterways in the area are filled with sunken boats and derelict craft. He further stated the the crime in the area had become “truly intolerable” and that multiple vessels had already been “stolen and ransacked”. Victims have had to physically confront the bandits to reclaim their property.
The bandits are usually found on small boats, roaming the coastline and stealing whatever has value. Mary Spicer, founder of a volunteer group that’s been cleaning the estuary since 2017, said her team has had to cancel their cleanups because of safety concerns.
The Oakland Police Department has a marine unit and has stepped up their patrols to the marinas, but it’s not enough. The Alameda PD has also pitched in, sending officers to help with patrols, but due to recent attrition, they are 30% shorthanded and unable to cover the area sufficiently. For some reason, the city of Alameda (an island) does not have a marine unit and is dependent upon the city of Oakland to help.
Residents in the area are petrified of their safety and feel let down by the authorities, with some taking to confronting the criminals themselves.
It’s crazy to hear that in 2023, American residents are having to deal with issues like this.