East Bay leaders hope Biden's anti-crime measures bring their cities some relief from violence

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A violent weekend amid a troubling year, has leaders in at least two East Bay cities looking forward to President Joe Biden's anti-crime initiatives.

Oakland Chief LeRonne Armstrong hopes the federal government can help make up for the deep cuts his city council is expected to make to his police force later this week.

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"I have been invited to attend virtually the Biden administration's announcements tomorrow," said Armstrong. "My hope is that it continues to support our efforts to address gun violence in the city of Oakland, to address violence prevention in the city of Oakland."

In Oakland, there is also a model for combatting crime that replaces police officers with social workers at incidents where a badge and a gun may not be the best solution.

The hope is that Biden's plan might help pay for that program.

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"We expect to see new grant opportunities," said Mayor Libby Schaaf. "And Oakland is ready to compete for that federal funding to build on what has worked for us in the past, and to further integrate new strategies."

Biden's also expected to focus his efforts on going directly after those who illegally traffic in weapons with a series of targeted strike forces.

"Guns should not be available to young people," said U.S. Representative Barbara Lee. "Guns should not be available for people who have a history of violence. Guns should not be available without background checks."

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Biden is also planning to focus on community policing, something Richmond Mayor Tom Butt believes is instrumental in preventing crime, rather than just reacting to it.

"I believe that having enough police to build relationships in the community prevents crime," said Butt. "And just the opposite happens when you cut your police forces to the bone. Crime goes up."

Like the president, local mayors and police chiefs hope they can help stem the violence that traditionally rises in the summer.

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