Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield Of California Up Office Security Amid Crime Concerns

Two large insurers based in Oakland, Calif., are implementing tougher security measures in response to rising crime in the city’s downtown, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Jan. 26.

Kaiser Permanente is recommending employees in downtown Oakland stay in their office buildings during lunch, according to a memo obtained by Fox affiliate KTVU. The memo was prompted by street robberies of workers who left the office to get lunch, the station reported.

The company also requested workers not based in Oakland avoid hosting meetings in its downtown offices. Kaiser is the city’s largest employer, according to the Chronicle. 

“In response to the current wave of armed robberies, vehicle theft and related crimes affecting the entire Oakland community, we continue to provide guidance to keep our people as safe as possible. Kaiser Permanente is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our employees and physicians across all of our locations,” a Kaiser Permanente spokesperson said in a statement shared with Becker’s. 

Violent crime increased 21% year over year in Oakland in 2023, according to the Chronicle, with robberies rising by 38% and burglaries by 23%.

Kaiser Permanente is working with city officials and community leaders on how to support the city’s economy and address rising crime, the spokesperson said. The company has given grants to the Oakland Thrives Leadership Council and the Oakland Unified School District to further health equity and community development.

“We are also committed to local business owners who are affected by concerns about rising crime in Oakland and we continue to encourage our employees to support local businesses while taking precautions to protect their personal safety,” the spokesperson said.

Blue Shield of California, also headquartered in Oakland, is providing employees with ride-sharing services, paid parking and private security in response to the safety concerns.

“Blue Shield of California recognizes the public safety challenges in the City of Oakland, and we are committed to fully supporting our employees’ safety,” a Blue Shield spokesperson said in a statement shared with Becker’s. 

Blue Shield employees are asked to come to the office at least twice a month, and executives once a week, the spokesperson said.

“We remain hopeful and we are counting on city, county and state leaders coming together with the community to improve safety and revitalize our city,” the spokesperson said.


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