gun violence

Freeway Shootings Rising Throughout San Francisco Bay Area, Arrests Dropping

NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has been digging into California Highway Patrol data and shows how freeways have become magnets for gun violence in the Bay Area.

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The fatal shooting on Tuesday afternoon of an Alameda County Sheriff's recruit as he was driving westbound on Interstate 580 is the latest incident in a long series of deaths and injuries as gun violence increases on Bay Area freeways.

California Highway Patrol data shows there were 82 shootings on Bay Area freeways in 2019. Those shootings resulted in six deaths and 50 injuries. In 2020, that number of shootings jumped by more than 50% to 124, while five people were killed and 54 injured. And in 2021, there were 178 shootings in all - killing eight people and injuring 62.

Data shows injuries from freeway shootings have grown year to year, from 50 in 2019 to 62 in 2021. Deaths are also up in the same time period.

Interstate 80 tops the list for the freeway with 86 shootings since 2019, followed by I-580 with 79 and I-880 with 57 shootings during that three-year period.

The most dangerous stretches of highway in 2021 were on I-580 in Alameda County, where there were 31 shootings. State Route 4 in Contra Costa County had 23 shootings. I-880 in Alameda County saw 21 shootings, and I-80 in Solano County had 15. Next on the list is the stretch of I-80 in Contra Costa County with 14 shootings.

The data also shows that even as the number of shootings has increased, arrests declined. In 2019, with 82 shootings and six deaths, there were 22 arrests made - which is 17% percent of all cases. But in 2020 as the number of shootings rose to 124, there were only 16 arrests, which means there were arrests in only 11% of the shootings. And in 2021 with 178 shootings and eight deaths there were only 22 arrests, which means 10% of all the cases resulted in arrest.

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