Oakland police making changes to crack down on gun violence after 9 killed in 9 days

"We are going all-hands-on-deck to address the gun violence in the city of Oakland," says Chief Armstrong.

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Nine people were shot and killed in separate incidents over the past nine days in Oakland, police say.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Nine people were shot and killed in separate incidents over the past nine days in Oakland. The latest was Tuesday morning on the 9600 block of Edes Avenue just after 10 a.m.

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong says his department is making changes.

"We are going all-hands-on-deck to address the gun violence in the city of Oakland," says Chief Armstrong.

Chief Armstrong says he is adding eight officers to the criminal investigation unit. Other senior officers will be will be added to the unit in the coming months as new recruits join Oakland's rank and file.

"That will increase the number of investigation that we can take on, those include shooting investigations, burglary investigations," he explains.

RELATED: Man from SF shot, killed in Oakland marking 8th deadly shooting in city this past week, police say

He says more officers will also be deployed around the city as a deterrence, especially in east Oakland and parts of west Oakland, two areas Chief Armstrong says are known for gang activity. He says of the 450 shootings in Oakland this year, 137 are related to gang violence.

"With those enhanced investigators, it is my hope that we can identify more individuals that are responsible for some of these crimes, and bring them to justice. Take them out of our communities," says Armstrong.

But some community activists say more cops isn't the solution.

"Ultimately what the chief is doing is more of the same," says James Burch, the Deputy Director of the Oakland-based Anti-Police Terror Project, a group which monitors police violence.

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He points out that police do not prevent violence - they respond to it. He claims Oakland's police department already has a poor record of responding, and that adding more cops won't change that.

"(The) Oakland Police Department spends an inordinate amount of time and tens of millions of dollars on responding to activities that are not crimes," says Burch.

RELATED: How Oakland is responding to gun violence after the 5th fatal shooting this week

Many community activists says more needs be about violence prevention.

"Crime and violence is a direct response to poverty and disinvestment in communities. Not more police," says Saabir Lockett. He is the Director of Faith Alliance for More Economy at EBASE, the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. The organization works for economic justice for low income workers.

He was directly impacted by one of the recent fatal shootings. He attends the mosque in Oakland near to where two people were killed last week.

Like others, he doesn't think Chief Armstrong's new approach will lead to new results.

"I don't know where he is getting that data from. There is no proven data that the increase in police (leads) to an increase in public safety," he says. "And currently, with the number of police that is currently in existence, they are not even doing a good job with their retention rate."

RELATED: 1 dead, 2 injured after Brinks guard opens fire during attempted robbery in Oakland: Official

Chief Armstrong says that the department will also rely on federal law enforcement partners to help them tackle gun violence in Oakland.

Armstrong didn't say how much this will cost, but he did says that the is ready to utilize whatever resources that available.

"I believe this is something we have to do. I don't think you can put a cost on loss of life. I am willing to deal with whatever fallout there may be about what It costs to actually make this city a bit safer."

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