Accident or crime scene cordon tape, police line do not cross. It is nighttime, emergency lights of police cars flashing blue, red and white in the background

(CALMATTERS) – Issues certain to keep dominating California discourse in 2022: rising crime rates and the drug overdose epidemic.

Los Angeles closed out 2021 with its highest rate of gun violence in 15 years, notching 392 homicides as of Dec. 29 — the city’s highest total since 2007 and a more than 50% increase from 2019, according to the Los Angeles Times. Oakland, meanwhile, finished the year with 134 homicides, its largest tally since 2006, and has already recorded its first murder of 2022, the Mercury News reports.

Despite Newsom pledging to spend more on crime-fighting efforts and other prominent California Democrats ramping up their tough-on-crime rhetoric, some shaken residents are taking matters into their own hands: After four men robbed him at gunpoint, longtime Oakland resident Trevor Lawrence bought a firearm of his own.

 “When you’ve been through that level of trauma, I feel that’s the only sense of security I have.”

Trevor awrence

Another jaw-dropping statistic: San Francisco police in 2021 seized 56 pounds of fentanyl from the Tenderloin neighborhood alone — a 500% increase from the amount seized there in 2020. The figure, which police officials described as “unprecedented,” was released a few days after San Francisco supervisors approved Mayor London Breed’s proposal to declare a state of emergency in the Tenderloin to ramp up the city’s response to overdose deaths.

“This is a status quo that we absolutely need to challenge and disrupt with everything we have,” Supervisor Matt Haney — who’s running for a state Assembly seat — told the San Francisco Chronicle.