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Oakland sees drop in major crimes

March 25, 2010 8:09:55 PM PDT
Crime is down this month in one of the country's most violent cities -- that was the announcement Thursday from Oakland's police chief. But there is still a long way to go in parts of the city.

As a team of detectives investigate a report of a rape, just a block away there was a burglary call Thursday.

Guns drawn, police surrounded the house and search for the suspects. Neighbors said they tried to steal a television.

All this was taking place across the street from the home Zack Porter was considering buying.

"Twenty minutes of being in the neighborhood and there's more police action than I've seen in two years of being in the Richmond District in San Francisco," Porter said.

It is just another day in East Oakland.

In one week, there were at least four multiple-victim shootings, but Thursday, police announced crime in Oakland is actually down this month. All major crimes are down, except for residential robberies.

"To make sure that families, kids can walk to the store safely, that people can go to dinner without being robbed, we're making significant progress there," Chief Anthony Batts said.

The drop in crime comes as Oakland police try a new strategy -- more officers on the streets and more officers working evening shifts, when most crime occurs.

Police say murders are also down and as of February, Oakland police had a 63 percent solvability rate on all homicides. The police chief says he wants all homicides solved within 24 hours.

"When a shooting takes place, this isn't brain surgery, it's fairly easy to track down retaliatory shootings that take place and bring those people to custody," Batts said.

In East Oakland, officers tried to convince Porter that witnessing two crimes at the same time on just about the same block is not typical.

He believes so much, he still might move to Oakland, just not to this address, just not to that block.


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