Oakland Police Department Reflects on a Challenging Year in Violent Crimes

After investigating 134 homicides this year, the most since 2012, the Oakland Police Department said they are committed to addressing a rise in violent crimes in the city.

Oakland also experienced a 21 percent increase in shootings, with many cases linking to gang and group member conflicts, said the department.

In response, Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong hired six investigators to the homicide section to solve more cases. As a result, the department increased their homicide clearance rate from 33 percent in October to 47 percent in December. The department also arrested 60 suspects involved in homicide cases, according to year-end data.

The department said it is focused to initiate violent crime prevention strategies like ceasefire, though it stated the pandemic affected officers' ability to reduce outreach efforts for those considered high-risk for gun violence.

The department also applauded Armstrong for his two initiatives to develop strong ties with community members -- one, a rally called "Stand Up for a Safe Oakland," and the second, community meetings called "Conservations Towards Solutions." Oakland police will soon reallocate 48 officers to Bureau of Field Operations East and set up a six-area patrol plan to address the disproportionate number of calls for violent crime that comes from East Oakland.

"Public service and safety are in the highest tradition of the Oakland Police Department, which we will continue to demonstrate each day. With continued support from community members, City leaders, and Oakland Police Commission, we look forward to a unified effort in making Oakland a safe city," the department said in a statement.

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