A troubling milestone was reached Monday in Oakland: 100 homicides in 2021. In all of last year, the city recorded 109.
Oakland Police Department Chief LeRonne Armstrong began a news briefing Monday with 100 seconds of silence for the 100 homicide victims. The latest homicide happened Monday morning outside the Coliseum BART station.
"This is about a crisis in our community that is taking lives," Armstrong said.
Ten of the 100 homicides happened in the last week, with four occurring over the weekend.
"So much violence, so many guns, so many senseless lives lost," Armstrong said. "If this is not a calling to everybody in this community that there is a crisis, I don't know what is."
Armstrong's frustration was palpable as he reached out for help in the latest homicide and called for everyone to demand their families and friends put the guns down.
"I've said so many times that the solution to reducing violent crime will not be just police," he said. "We need the community's help. We need the public's help in identifying those that continue to use firearms in our community."
Armstrong also said staff shortages are a big problem. He said the department currently has 695 officers, which is the lowest number in 10 years.