WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Freeway shootings have plunged in California — down nearly 40% from their pandemic highs.
SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a significant annual reduction in the number of freeway shootings across California. New data released today by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) shows the number of confirmed freeway shootings in California dropped from 349 in 2022 to 274 last year — a reduction of more than 21% from the previous year and a reduction of 38% from pandemic highs.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “While this downward trend marks progress, let’s be clear: one life lost by gun violence is one too many. California will remain relentless in our pursuit to improve public safety, reduce gun violence, and invest in smart crime-fighting strategies that deliver real results.”
“Freeway shootings are serious crimes, and the CHP actively investigates every incident of highway violence,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “This milestone reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of our highways throughout California and fostering an environment where motorists can travel without fear.”
Governor Newsom established CHP’s Highway Violence Task Force to address the rise of violent crimes occurring on state highways, which surged nationally during the pandemic. At their peak in California in 2021, 447 shootings resulted in 16 deaths and 88 injuries. Today’s new data show a 38% reduction in shootings and a 75% reduction in deaths compared to those pandemic highs.
In addition to the reduction in the number of freeway shootings statewide, the new data indicates the number of victims killed and injured in highway violence incidents also decreased. In 2023, four individuals were killed in freeway shootings — a 60% reduction from the prior year. Additionally, there was an 8% reduction in the number of people injured – from 74 to 68 last year. Reflecting CHP’s increased efforts to investigate and address freeway violence, the number of arrests by the CHP in freeway shootings increased nearly 9% from 2022.
Governor Newsom is improving public safety in California with his Real Public Safety Plan – which focuses on strengthening law enforcement response, ensuring perpetrators are held accountable, and getting guns and drugs off our streets. Building on these efforts, earlier this month, the Governor called for the creation of new laws to crack down on professional thieves targeting retail businesses and cars. In 2023, the Governor announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in California history, an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime, and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety. California leads the nation in public safety investments — investing $1.1 billion over four years to fight crime and improve public safety.