Oakland Makes Policing Changes in Response to Rising Crime Rates`

By: Brian Shields - Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:37:36 -0800

OAKLAND (KRON) -- Oakland city leaders are saying an ambitious program to reduce crime in the city's 100 most violent blocks is a success despite statistics that show crime has skyrocketed in the rest of the city.

"I would call it a success," Oakland police chief Howard Jordan says.  "We accomplished what we want to accomplish.  Where we were focused, we saw reductions.  Now we have to adjust.  We have to look at what's around those areas and how we deploy our officers.  In October the initial three task forces that were formed, they returned to patrol because we had too many open beats and we had to make a decision at that point whether to fill beats or to continue with this proactive, not reactive crime reduction process.  We made the decision to put officers back on the beats so that when people dial 911 we can continue to respond to calls for service."

The "100 Block" plan moved 22 officers from community policing duties to patrolling the hundred most violent city blocks.  34 officers were rehired bringing the department's patrol strength up to 288 officers.  Officials with the police officer's union say that's still not enough to get the job done.

"I can't speak to the 100 blocks but if you look across the city crime is up more than 20 percent," Oakland Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan adds. "That's not a good thing for the citizens.  You would have to bring in hundreds more officers to continue the 100 block plan to try to deal with the levels of service we are asking for and the levels of crime we deal with on a daily basis.  The bottom line here in Oakland is that we just don't have enough police officers."

Crime citywide is showing a spike according to the most recent statistics.  Looking at the first three and a half months of 2012 compared to the same time last year, murders are up 19%, rape have increased by 36%, there are 32% more robberies and 37% more burglaries.

Officials say they are responding to the challenges in the way that makes the most sense.

"It's based on data, it's not based on emotion," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan says.  "It's based on taking the resources we have and focusing them in a smart way and on top of that holding both us and the police accountable."

City officials met Tuesday evening with community members to go over the planned changes in policing in Oakland.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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