2018 was an interesting year for public safety in Berkeley. The big political clashes and street fights that marked much of 2017, for the most part, did not recur. There were no homicides*, and statistics from the first half of the year showed crime on a downward trend — though shootings spiked and robberies continued to be a worry.
The Berkeley City Council spent a lot of time debating whether Berkeley police should take part in the county’s annual Urban Shield tactical exercises; what to make of racial disparities in local policing and crime trends; and whether Berkeley police should be allowed to release booking photographs of people arrested during protests. Police staffing levels, described by officials as in crisis, were another recurring theme.
Some of the year’s most significant crimes included the rape of a high school girl, the near-fatal stabbing of a North Berkeley woman, ongoing gang tension, a shooting at San Pablo Park that injured three people, and the killing of a young Berkeley man just over the Oakland border. A trial involving a group of self-described anti-fascist activists also drew significant interest. Berkeleyside’s scoop involving City Councilman Ben Bartlett’s behavior during a traffic stop gained regional and national attention.
Scroll down for some of the most significant public safety stories on Berkeleyside in 2018.
Berkeley City Council votes 5-4 to let police, firefighters stay in Urban Shield
Berkeley police stops show racial disparities — but what does that mean?
Booking photos on Twitter?
Update: Council says police can’t name non-violent arrestees on social media during protests
Police staffing crisis: A deep dive
As staffing crisis continues for Berkeley police, officers who left reveal why
Parolee charged in rape of high schooler
Berkeley parolee arrested in rape of teen girl, and sexual assault at Cal dorm
North Berkeley stabbing
Police: Stabbing attack of North Berkeley woman was ‘unrelenting,’ ‘meant to kill’
Gang rivalry heats up in Berkeley
Police: Feud between rival Berkeley gangs sparked shootings, 2 charged
San Pablo Park shooting
BPD: Man, 25, in critical condition after shooting; innocent bystanders are stable
Bus stop homicide still unsolved
A mother’s plea: Homicide victim’s mom asks witnesses to come forward
Antifa trial: Not guilty
Jury finds 5 men not guilty of assault during 2017 Berkeley protest
Councilman traffic stop raises questions
Berkeley councilman to cop who pulled him over: ‘You know, we’re voting on your contract right now’
* Berkeley had no homicides in 2018, but there were a number of tragic deaths, many of which involved traffic collisions. Read more public safety news from Berkeleyside.