Mayor Jean Quan defends crime-fighting initiative

June 27, 2012 8:09:09 PM PDT
The mayor of Oakland is defending her crime-fighting initiative. Mayor Jean Quan admits she was wrong about her crime statistics, but still insists it's the right strategy.

Just back from a climate conference in South America, Wednesday was the first time the mayor had addressed the controversy that blew up in her absence -- the fact that her 100 block initiative for fighting crime was based on faulty information.

"As mayor, I probably should've taken more time to analyze the data myself and read it myself; I didn't," Quan said.

It turns out murders and other violent crimes are spread out over a much greater area of the city. But Quan stands by her strategy for concentrating police enforcement in certain parts of the city. Her map now identifies the top 10 areas rather than 100 blocks.

"When we have limited resources we have to do the best with what we have," Quan said.

Assistant Police Chief Anthony Toribio said crime is up for the year but it's been trending down the past few months.

"And that's why it's important for us to stay the course," he said.

But the mayor's critics contend there are other crime fighting strategies that are being ignored like gang injunctions and curfews.

"The people in the community know this 100 block plan ain't real; she didn't support, she didn't support the curfew ordinance," Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said.

And, Reid says, police administration support for the 100 block plan is political.

"What else would you say if your bosses were standing up there with you; I'd give you the correct political answer too," Reid said.

Asked about gang injunctions, the mayor said they would have to be targeted; same for curfews.

"I'd actually support a curfew that was aimed at hotspot areas and not a citywide curfew because I don't think we have the resources for a citywide curfew," Quan said.

Before the recession the city had 800 officers and Quan says that's how many the city needs now and no strategy can make up for that deficit.


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