What's going on in the streets of Oakland and what is the OPD doing to keep the streets safe?
Oakland continues to end up on “most dangerous cities” lists and overall crime is up, with homicides increasing by 300% in East Oakland, the Coliseum and the Oakland International Airport, in a report on last quarter compared to 2015.
In a report by the Oakland Police Department last night, Lt. Sean Flemming reiterated that the spike in crime was attributed to two separate unrelated gang conflicts which affected Area 5, known as East Oakland last year. One which began in June/July and ended in October then another separate gang conflict that began in October. These two gang conflicts have since been resolved because of the operation and crime levels are not expected to reach this unusually high peak again.
District 7 Council Member Larry Reid reflected saying, “It’s kind of depressing. I can’t remember having 26 homicides at the end of the year and I’m trying to understand what’s going on in the district which I represent.”
Area 4, which consists of Fruitvale and Macarthur has seen a decrease in 11 of the 13 areas of crime in the quarterly report. Captain Nishant Joshi noted that most of the shootings are gang related. Caption Joshi credits a 3% decrease in robberies to a tactic called “directed patrols” in which officers overlap in specific areas during peak times that robberies occur. Robberies near the Fruitvale Bart station continue due to heavy foot traffic and hours of transit although robberies are down 3% for this quarter.
Although Oakland has implemented Ceasefire and additional gang task forces to areas hit heavily by crime. Area 5 which covers East Oakland, the Coliseum and the Oakland International Airport saw 6 of the 13 areas of crime go significantly up; specifically, homicide with an extremely elevated increase of 300%.
Ceasefire is Oakland’s data-driven violence prevention program. Using a scorecard system Ceasefire tracks gangs and groups most actively involved in homicides and shootings. Generally, there are 4 gangs who “rise to the top” of the scorecard as of now there are 10. Ceasefire Commander Cpt. Ersie Joyner said, “It’s clear right now that our urgency is at an all-time high, in regards to getting on top of this and having a systematic plan to deal with it.” He attributes this rise in numbers of gangs to the merging gangs. Gangs are no longer based upon a geographical area yet may span city wide or even to surrounding cities.
Overall Oakland’s OPD seems to have a clear understanding of where crime is coming from. Hopefully the implementation and redistribution of resources and the evaluation of current systems can aid in the decrease of crimes in Oakland. Fourth quarter, quarterly comparisons were used at this month’s Public Safety Committee Meeting. These quarterly comparisons calculate increases and decreases in 13 specific areas of crime between October 1st, 2016-December 31st, 2016 which are compared to 2015’s fourth quarter.