Quan Admits Her Crime Stats Were Wrong

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has been saying that the city should focus on 100 blocks in East Oakland and West Oakland because 92 percent of the city's shootings and homicides occur there.

By Jeff Shuttleworth
|  Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012  |  Updated 10:26 PM PDT
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Quan Admits Her Crime Stats Were Wrong

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At a news conference at City Hall Wednesday, Quan blamed others for the incorrect statistics, saying, "I was given incorrect data last year regarding areas with a high concentration of homicides in our city."

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Oakland Mayor Jean Quan acknowledged Wednesday that a statistic she's been using since last August to justify concentrating the city's crime-fighting efforts on 100 key blocks is inaccurate.

Quan has been saying in public meetings and at news conferences that the city should focus on 100 blocks in East Oakland and West Oakland because 92 percent of the city's shootings and homicides occur in those areas.

But the nonprofit group Urban Strategies recently released a study challenging Quan's statistics, finding that the city's most 100 dangerous blocks only account for 17 percent of Oakland's shootings and homicides.

At a news conference at City Hall Wednesday, Quan blamed others for the incorrect statistics, saying, "I was given incorrect data last year regarding areas with a high concentration of homicides in our city."

She said, "As mayor, I probably should have taken more time to analyze and verify the data and its accuracy as it related to the concentration of violent crime in our community. This is regrettable and I take full responsibility for the error."

But Quan said that even though her statistic was wrong, the premise of her public safety strategy of focusing on a limited number of high-crime areas is sound and has merit.

"It's the right strategy, the right plan and the right team to address one of our city's most significant challenges," she said.

The mayor said she thinks it's still a good idea to infuse the 100 blocks identified in her plan with concentrated policing as well as other city services, such as after-school programs, in order to fight crime.

Quan said, "We've had some good statistics" in terms of reducing some types of crime since her plan was formally rolled out last October but admitted that violent crime is up so far this year compared to the same time last year.

She said her plan is still in an "early" phase but said "some people are trying to kill it" already.

Another of Quan's statements was called into question when she blamed City Council President Larry Reid for the Oakland's lack of a curfew that would keep teenagers off the city's streets, a measure that the Police Department has sought for several years.

Quan said, "I support curfews but Larry Reid didn't" and said he was to blame when a curfew measure didn't get out of the Public Safety Committee two years ago, when she was still on the City Council.

Reid, who was in the audience at the news conference, immediately spoke up and alleged Quan was the person who kept the curfew measure from getting out of the committee and to the full City Council.

After the news conference, Reid said, "I helped draft a curfew ordinance but I couldn't get it out of the committee" because Quan and other committee members refused to support it.

Reid said he doesn't think Quan's crime-fighting plan has been effective, saying, "It doesn't make sense" and he hasn't seen any results in his district in East Oakland, which is one of the city's high-crime areas.

Reid said that even though Quan served on the City Council before she was elected mayor in December 2010, she doesn't work well with the council in addressing crime and other important issues affecting Oakland.

He said, "I think I know more about my district than she does because I've represented it for 16 years but she doesn't reach out to me" and she doesn't reach out to other council members who represent high-crime areas in East and West Oakland.

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