Local and state officials discuss Oakland crime and safety progress, needed improvements

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Sunday, December 10, 2023
Oakland city leaders discuss crime and safety progress, improvements
A community forum was held in Oakland by city, county and state leaders to discuss crime and safety as well as progress and needed improvements.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland City Council member Treva Reid, who represents District 7, took part in a public safety forum on Saturday with local, county and state officials. Joining her in the forum hosted by the Oakland East Bay Alumnae chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority were California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley and other Oakland city leaders.

"I wanted (the community) to know the investments that we have made. I wanted them to hear some of the outcomes that we have been able to deliver on," explains Reid, whose district includes East Oakland.

She was also joined by Acting Oakland Police Chief Darren Allison. They say since the launch of several initiatives this summer, such bringing in the CHP and foot patrol officers, East Oakland's crime corridors have seen a 40% reduction in crime.

"Decrease in robberies occurring in that area. Whenever you are very intentional in your approach and you bring presence and follow up on investigations, you will absolutely see an impact," says Acting Chief Allison.

"I can tell you since the inception of our traffic division, they have written over 6,000 citations. And, our fatalities have gone down," Acting Deputy Chief Casey Johnson told the crowd.

There were also tough questions from the crowd, such as why Oakland missed a multimillion dollar grant deadline to fight retail theft.

"The buck does stop with me. I am the mayor. And I take full responsibility for that," said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who also participated.

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The City of Oakland has lost the chance to receive millions of dollars to help fight retail crime because city officials missed the deadline to apply.

Others in the audience praised the progress being made, but not convinced it will last.

"If you can have dialogue, it is always going to be good. The concern is we get dialogue, but we don't get follow through," says Oakland resident Stephanie Bolden.

This is all comes as Oakland facing a historic deficit. And California expecting a $68 billion dollar shortfall. Assembly member Bonta says that calls for more coordination across jurisdictions.

"That means that we need to lean into coordinated services, to make sure that we are not focusing on duplicated services, and that we are being very focused on addressing the equity gaps that exist," says Bonta.

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Oakland Chinatown business owners are frustrated and speaking out after a series of armed robberies, burglaries and break-ins in recent weeks.

Councilmember Reid also spoke of a new public safety task force that will launch in January. It will work with other cities and counties to share strategies, technology and data to tackle crime.

Reid also highlighted a new city policy to ensure equitable delivery of services.

"We have never had in our 170-plus year history, a policy directive to ensure equitable delivery of services," she says.

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As Reid explains, it will work to relocate or allocate funding where actual data shows it is needed most. The example she gives is with illegal dumping. Two of Oakland's district, including District 7, receive 50% of the service requests for illegal dumping says Reid. Now these districts will get the bulk of the resources for clean up.

"Through the city (administrator), who has a directive over those departments, he can help to get that done through that policy. Otherwise, we have to get five city council votes to get what communities need. And that process has disserved us. And has led to decades of disinvestment for communities like East Oakland," says Reid.

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