OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Attorney General Rob Bonta and Assemblywoman Mia Bonta were in the Bay Area Wednesday to promote a new branch in the state Department of Justice to stop gun violence. At the press conference, both addressed the issue of crime in Oakland.
"We are here ready, willing and able to help Oakland in any way that they need," Attorney General Bonta said. "If they want resources. If they want personnel. If they want us to support in other ways. If they want thought partners to practice new approaches that can be more impactful we can help."
Oakland has seen four homicides in three days this week. On Tuesday, two people were shot at a bus stop outside city hall. One man died. That shooting happened near Assemblywoman Mia Bonta's office. She says the pandemic affected the city's response to stopping violence.
"Out of necessity we have taken some incredible strides on reducing gun violence but I think COVID has taken ahold of us," Assemblywoman Bonta said. "Now we are starting to rebuild those efforts."
She says part of that rebuilding process involves giving funding to groups already present in Oakland trying to stop the violence. The City's Department of Violence Prevention aims to get close to families in Oakland and stop crimes before they happen.
"It is a lot of touch points that we offer to our loved ones and those are the things that work towards building what we call a slow dance in a relationship," said Kevin Grant, a partner coordinator with the department. "When their individual network or community or family are caught up in some turmoil we have earned the right to go in and say he what is going on."
However, Grant says in order to expand those efforts, they need to reach all of Oakland's families.
"I like to call it force multiplying," Grant said. "Where we step into these hoods and engage loved ones to support our tasks and share it with their nest as we dig deeper these areas."
Assemblywoman Bonta says that can take time, but she said she is prepared to help at the legislative level.
"A lot of it for me is making sure our community-based organizations our frontline workers are brought in and factored into the solutions," she said. "That way we can really come together as a community."