VIDEO: Oakland Removes Traffic Lights to Thwart Rampant Copper Wire Theft

A person stands in front of a tent behind a car filled with debris at a homeless encampmen
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Officials in Oakland, California, removed traffic lights from an intersection and replaced them with stop signs amid rampant thefts some attribute to a homeless encampment.

Neighbors claim people have been stealing copper wires and city infrastructure, Fox News reported Sunday. Even though authorities have put cement barriers over electrical boxes to deter people from tampering with them, the problem has apparently persisted.

Officials have since removed one intersection’s traffic lights, and drivers must make sure to halt for the red stop signs that have replaced them.

CBS News reporter Da Lin was driving through the area of East 12th Street and 16th Avenue when he noticed the traffic lights were gone. His investigation revealed officials had decided to replace them with stop signs after people kept stealing copper, the outlet reported on Friday.

“It’s just telling us that the city is giving up on us. The city did try to fix the traffic light, at least a few times. But once they fixed it, normally within the week or so it will go out again,” Tam Le of Le’s Auto Body and Engine Repair shop said.

He added that in order to fix the stop sign issue, officials need to clean up the homeless encampment that stretches for three blocks:

According to the Fox report, violent crime in the area jumped 22 percent in 2024.

In April, Breitbart News reported that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he was sending hundreds of surveillance cameras that would be installed across Oakland and its surrounding freeways to be used in the fight against criminal activity plaguing the area.

The outlet continued:

Newsom dismisses any criticism of the move and its infringement on privacy, saying the surveillance network will give law enforcement tools “to effectively combat criminal activity and hold perpetrators accountable — building safer, stronger communities for all Californians.”

The city of roughly 400,000 across the bay from San Francisco has seen crime continue to rise in the past 12 months with no sign of it easing anytime soon.

The stops signs at the Oakland intersection are reportedly temporary. However, officials have not revealed when the traffic lights will be put back up, according to the Fox article.

In May 2023, hundreds of residents in Oakland gathered for a community safety meeting to demand the city take action on crime in the area, according to Breitbart News.

One neighbor said he and others are “victims of a failed progressive utopia.”


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