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Quan tries to reassure that her plan still works

April 25, 2012 1:31:02 AM PDT
In Oakland Tuesday night, Mayor Jean Quan's crime-fighting plan suffered a setback. That's after police admit they're moving several officers out of a high crime area. The plan focuses on the city's 100 most-violent blocks.

The "100 Block Initiative" is Quan's innovative plan that she rolled out last fall, but on Tuesday night she was in damage control mode trying to reassure the public that her plan still works.

"So what I'm saying is that the street murders seem to have come down," said Quan.

Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan sat shoulder to shoulder at a press conference held to reassure the public her 100 Block Initiative is still working.

"It's based on taking the resources we have and focusing them in a smart way," said Quan.

A report that 22 police positions are being reassigned from the area raised concerns among residents in parts of East and West Oakland, at a public safety meeting Tuesday night. In just the last 24 hours, four people were shot there, including a man who was wounded on Peralta Street. In fact, 90 percent of the city's murders take place within that 100 block area.

"What we put into our children comes back to us. So we've seen years of neglect in East Oakland and West Oakland? years," said Oakland resident Dawanda Sherry.

Quan says 25 new officers will be assigned middle schools in the 100 blocks by June. However, she says the program works because of a combination of social services and a job recruitment program being funneled into the zone.

"You're asking me if the 100 Block Plan is going to work? No, it's not going to work because it's not sustainable," said City Councilmember Larry Reid.

Reid says the city needs 1,200 officers. It only has 653. Chief Jordan says crime is down in the 100 block zone, but added that overall crime in the city is up 21 percent.

"What we saw is that it didn't move too far. We're not talking about crime moving, I'm really talking about the shootings and the robberies and the murders. They move literally within a block or two from each other," said Jordan.

In September 2011, the city received a federal grant of more than $10.7 million to hire officers. The grants were designed to provide 100 percent funding for the salaries and benefits of newly-hired or rehired full-time officers over a three-year period.

"It's based on taking the resources we have and focusing them in a smart way and on top of that, holding both us and the police accountable," Quan said.

Jordan admits it'll be difficult to maintain the mayor's plan, but he's willing to tap BART Police Department and the California Highway Patrol to fill the gaps in this 100 block zone.


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