Libby Schaaf Reminds Everyone of Oakland's Crime Rate Decline Following Jeff Session's Criticism

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf held a press conference Wednesday to respond to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions by repeating the "How dare you?" phrase he used after she warned of a recent federal immigration raid.

Sessions criticized Mayor Libby Schaaf in a speech to law enforcement officials after he sued California over laws that restrict cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

Afterward, she said of Sessions, "How dare you vilify members of the community, distract people from a broken immigration system that breaks up families and distort the reality of declining violent crime in a sanctuary city like Oakland."

Schaaf also took to Twitter to remind people of a report she tweeted out in January of this year that shows a decline in the city’s violent crime rate.

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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s violent crime index, the city of Oakland has seen a decline in violent crime rate over the past five years, dropping a total of 23 percent from 2012 to 2017.

The FBI’s crime index tracks murders, rape, robbery and assault.

A total of 553 shootings and 125 homicides were reported in 2012 while 227 shootings and 72 homicides, Oakland’s second-lowest homicide rate since records were kept in 1985, were reported in 2017.

Officials say that is in part due to a consistent crime-fighting strategy that focuses on community relationships with a stable leader on top of the Oakland Police Department.

"We're seeing the payoff for sticking to a solid game plan," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. "But let's be clear, this is not 'mission accomplished.' This is progress acknowledged."

Interim director of the city's new department of violence prevention and manager of the Oakland unite division of the human services department, Peter Kim, said that efforts have always been focused on interrupting violence as it happens, and preventing future violence.

"Oakland's holistic approach-addressing the complex and multiple risk factors associated with violence: poverty, unemployment, discrimination, substance abuse, educational failure, fragmented families, and domestic abuse has contributed to the significant decline in violence," Kim said.

Reports show that a decline in police force is also a contributing factor. Oakland Police use of force incidents dropped 75 percent in five years. A reported 1,244 incidents occurred in 2012 while only 309 were reported in 2017.

"Relationships at the ground level make all Oaklanders safer," Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said. "Our residents need to trust our officers and our officers need to respect every resident; when we establish that common bond, then we're all working together to make positive change."

The city’s mayor continues to strategize to keep the violent crime index at a decrease as she ensures that though numbers look better, the job is not yet done.

"We must continue to combat the root causes of crime to deliver on our goal to bring holistic community safety to all Oaklanders," Schaaf said.

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