What is law enforcement doing to crack down on violent crime in Oakland? Police chief, DA explain

ByKen Miguel and Phil Matier KGO logo
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Law enforcement promises 'maximum charges' in Oakland crime crackdown
Attacks on people in Oakland and across the Bay Area has law enforcement pleading with judges to keep repeat offenders in jail.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The brazen daylight robbery of an elderly Asian man in Oakland's Chinatown earlier this month sparked outrage throughout the Bay Area.

It was just one of a many violent crimes reported in the Bay Area as crime continues rise.

Today, law enforcement in the East Bay is saying "enough is enough."

RELATED: Oakland police investigate 2 violent robberies on same Chinatown block in 2 days

But does law enforcement have the muscle to stop the surge?

The numbers are alarming. In Oakland alone, police say robberies are up 15% this year over last and car jackings are up a whopping 95% in that same time.

At the same time police funding is being cut and the money is being redirected to efforts to deal with the what many people say are the underlying causes of crime, like poverty, poor education and job training.

In Oakland's Chinatown on Monday, federal and local law enforcement committed to doing more to get dangerous people and weapons off the street.

There has been an increase in the number of attacks of people in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, but there has also been an increase in hate crimes against other ethnic groups. The FBI, ATF, Oakland Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney said they would be doing more to stop the violence, going after the people who commit these crimes and making sure they pay the price for them.

But what are they really doing?

RELATED: 75-year-old Asian man warned about increase in attacks days before murder in Oakland

For starters, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said he was putting as many police as the department could muster in into the area, but how many cops does the area really need to have an impact?

Chief Armstrong: "I don't know what the number is."

Phil Matier: "How many would you like to have on the streets?"

Chief Armstrong: "Well, Phil, I don't know what the exact number would be.

Phil Matier: "Ballpark?"

Chief Armstrong: "I just want enough resources to have a visible presence on a daily basis. We are seeing far too many people being arrested by our officers going jail and coming right back out and committing those same crimes in our community. There has to be some level of accountability. I think we all have to acknowledge that when you have a city like Oakland (which) has 75 homicides and over 1,500 robberies already and it's only July. We have a problem here."

WATCH: Video shows thief smash car window, rob driver stuck in Oakland traffic

Brazen video out of Oakland shows the moments a woman robbed and her car broken into while driving along Broadway in the middle of the day.

But often those arrested are back out on the streets by the next day.

"If they're arrested, and they're charged with the crime, they will be in jail unless they can afford bail. Everybody has a right to bail," said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley. "And the California Supreme Court just came down with a ruling that said you can't hold someone in jail, just because they can't afford bail. But the caveat to that policy is that if somebody is a danger to the community, or they're a danger to the victim of crime, that they who is a victim of their crime, the court doesn't have to set a bail. And we're seeing the particular judge who's overseeing these bail hearings, holding people in custody because they are a danger to the community."

O'Malley said her office will file the "maximum charges, including the enhancements for use of a gun, for some, they've been convicted of a felony. It's a high percentage of individuals that are being arrested for crimes involving a gun are already on probation."

And what does that say about the system?

"Well, we were doing what we can do is you know, that California is really focusing on reform," O'Malley said. "And what we are arguing to the state and to our legislators is that you cannot take reform to the place where where the community is in danger, where public safety is impacted."

We'll see.

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