Oakland Corporations Unite for $10 Million Downtown Security Boost


Four huge Oakland companies said Thursday that they will sponsor a $10 million program to increase security for their downtown employees. Blue Shield of California, The Clorox Company, Kaiser Permanente, and PG&E announced that they will collaborate and engage with local police and the city to improve security by establishing an Uptown/Downtown Safe Zone.

A detailed strategy was not revealed Thursday, but the corporations said in a joint statement that the program will “complement and augment” previous efforts by local police, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and California Attorney General Rob Bonta to fight violent crime in the city.

“The partners involved in this effort saw a need to take quick, meaningful action on behalf of our coworkers and neighbors in Oakland,” said Patti Poppe, PG&E Corporation’s CEO. “In the months ahead, we’ll learn what works and what more may be needed to support our goal of creating a safer, more prosperous hometown for all.”

Security measures set to be implemented in the coming weeks include “visible and responsive security” in downtown areas, as well as funding for the Oakland Uptown Downtown Community Benefit District’s Ambassador program, which will provide on-demand buddy escorts to and from local destinations such as offices, restaurants, and points of interest.

In addition, the company would offer staff safety training and subsidized transportation to and from work, transit hubs, surrounding parking lots, and neighborhood businesses.

“We chose Oakland as our headquarters and are proud to be a part of this community,” stated Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California. “It’s important that we do what’s needed to not only protect our people who live and work here but support our community as we work together to revitalize this great city.”

The four enterprises collectively employ thousands of people in Oakland’s downtown district. The initiative will last until 2024 and will cost approximately $10 million, which will be split among the four firms.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao expressed gratitude for the companies’ engagement, describing it as an example of an excellent public-private partnership.

“I applaud their engagement as true civic leaders to improve conditions for everyone in the Uptown/Downtown community,” Thao said in a statement. “Collectively we share a deep love and commitment to this beautiful city and linked arm in arm with the Governor and our top CEOs, I know we will be successful in quickly bringing safety, growth, and vibrancy back to our streets.”

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