Oakland police to deploy new crime-fighting strategy

June 7, 2013 8:38:58 PM PDT
The Oakland Police Department is rolling out a new crime fighting strategy this weekend. The plan is to divide the city into smaller police-able districts and use special units to focus on select problem areas.

Oakland has attempted what they call "area command" in the past but this time Chief Sean Whent says it will be different.

Five distinct districts will have a single commander with the authority to focus on strategies that are designed for each community.

A key target this weekend will be sideshows and the recent spike in gun violence.

"Warm weather with more people outside there's more potential for violence. But that's, so that's one of the reasons that we really, it's imperative that we get more officers out there and be visible and let people know that we're out there," said Whent.

Oakland police will have members of their crime reduction team covering areas known to be a problem in the past. The California Highway Patrol will focus on the sideshows that have increased in both size and frequency.

Whent was quick to stress that resources will not be taken from areas of the city with less crime, but rather the two law enforcement agencies will work longer shifts, plus overtime.

City Councilmember Noel Gallo says the overtime generated by the police department is a strain on the city's budget and taxpayers.

"Right, it's $7.7-$8 million a year that Oakland pays for overtime," he said.

Whent says extra police units will be out on Friday looking for sideshows and the District Attorney's office plans to crack-down and fully prosecute those responsible.

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