OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Police Department held a press conference Thursday addressing a recent spike in violent crime — particularly over the last month.
The presser began with an 87-second moment of silence to honor the 87 lives lost in Oakland so far this year, which is already more than the total lost in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In the month of August alone, 11 homicides were reported and seven homicide suspects were arrested and charged by the Alameda District Attorney’s Office.
Five homicides were reported in the last seven days.
“I hope this community understands how much trauma that it’s bringing to our community, how much sadness, how much pain it’s bringing to our community,” Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said.
Police say trends related to homicides include increase in gang violence, human trafficking, robberies, carjackings and other serious crimes.
Shootings in the city of Oakland have jumped nearly 50% compared to 2020, with more than 400 reported so far in 2021.
“Shootings are a real indication of the increase in violence in our community,” Armstrong said. “It’s really concerning.”
Officers have recovered more than 800 firearms so far this year, police said, which amounts to nearly 100 guns a month taken off the streets of Oakland and more than three guns a day removed from the community.
Another 50% increase from last year — robberies. Police say there’s been more than 700 armed robberies in Oakland so far. Robbery investigators have arrested 195 robbery suspects this year and 19 robbery suspects in the month of August.
Carjackings have significantly increased too with 329 carjackings reported so far this year — a 100% increase compared to this time last year.
Authorities took the opportunity to remind the community that lives are more valuable than items, and to not resist during a robbery.
Chief Armstrong said this spike in violent crime has been challenging for the department with “shrinking” resources and less than 700 police officers.
During the press conference, a few strategies were laid out to help reduce crime in the community.
One strategy mentioned involved one-on-one conversations with leaders who can help redirect people in the community who could be potential shooters and/or shooting victims.
Chief Armstrong also brought up how he re-deployed OPD to create a new Violent Crimes Operations Center to focus on violent crime in Oakland and prioritize life in the city.