OAKLAND (KPIX) – The City of Oakland is going on the offensive to catch an arsonist and they’re asking the public to help.

Amid a string of residential construction fires from Emeryville to Concord, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced a $300,000 reward for information leading to an arson conviction.

“In Oakland, we value safety and we need housing,” she told reporters. “We are in a housing crisis.”

“We are urging the community to help us identify who is doing this and stop them,” said Greg McConnell, President of the Jobs and Housing Coalition, the group putting up the reward money.

However, Monday’s announcement of the reward money did not come with any new information from fire investigators.

“The Valdez street fire at this point is still undetermined. The effort continues to try to determine the cause,” said Oakland Fire Chief Darin White.

“We believe, and we’re not experts, but we believe the fires in Emeryville, Valdez, Concord, there’s a certain pattern that leads us to believe it’s the work of an individual or a group of individuals working together,” said McConnell.

Since these fires started, security costs at construction sites have easily doubled. The hope is that even if the reward doesn’t catch an arsonist, that it might at least deter another far more costly fire.”

“At this moment we have 6,656 units of housing under construction,” said Schaaf. “We need to build housing, we need to keep this community safe, and we are serious about that.”

The new arson tip line number is (510) 238-4031.

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