Oakland – Today, the Oakland City Council, CPAB, SSOC, and the Police Commission will discuss the concept, introduced by Council President Rebecca Kaplan, to make guns the top law enforcement priority in the City of Oakland. If Oakland can deter illegal guns and gun violence by increasing gun tracing, improving response time to shooting notifications, and prioritizing response to gun crime, the city will be a safer place to live.
The Oakland City Council has previously adopted policies to set law enforcement priorities in the direction of “low priority” issues — designating which topics it would be the policy for OPD not to prioritize, such as cannabis.
“I am calling for the City of Oakland to Declare Gun Violence as the Top Law Enforcement Priority for the City of Oakland, to decrease the number of illegal guns and gun violence in the city. By increasing gun tracing and prioritizing action to respond to gun crime,” states Council President Rebecca Kaplan. “We must recognize the easy availability of illegal guns increases violence and harm, and in order to reduce gun violence, we need to crack down on illegal guns, and have a timely and effective response to shooting notifications.”
The City of Oakland is experiencing an increase in the amount of guns shots fired. According to the Oakland Police Department’s ShotSpotter Activations Report, the Oakland Police Crime Analysis Division reported approximately 2,807 ShotSpottter Activations from gunshots fired in 2019. As of September 20, 2020, there have been approximately 4,104 ShotSpotter activations from guns fired. This number is a forty-six percent (46%) increase from the year prior, and that many gunshots don’t show up in 911 call statistics.
As of August 23, 2020, the Oakland Police Department Crime Analysis reported thirty-four (34%) percent increase in reported gunfire in Oakland. In 2019, there were 953 occurrences of gunfire. This year, 1,281 occurrences of gunfire were reported, with a quarter of the year still to be determined. In a single weekend from August 6th-9th, 2020, ten shootings were reported across the city, which resulted in five fatalities, many of the cases are unsolved, with the assailants remaining at-large.
Currently, there is also a grave need for an effective and robust gun tracing program to curb the amount of gun violence and reduce the number of illegal guns on the streets. Kaplan has been a consistent advocate for increased efforts around gun and shell tracing. She fought for the funding to acquire the gun and shell tracing equipment. She understands that gun tracing is essential to shutting down sources of illegal guns on Oakland’s streets.
In order to ensure that illegal guns can be tracked down and to deter gun crime, it will be important to have timely response on notifications of shootings, and more consistent tracing of guns and shell casings. Kaplan has requested information from OPD about the frequency of providing an immediate deployment in response to notifications of shootings, and about how often there is the ability to collect shell casings or other materials to help identify and shut down sources of illegal guns.
The goal is to make smart and effective choices about deployments, and timely response to urgent situations like armed robberies in progress. The recent choice by the Oakland Police Chief to order hundreds of Police Officers to stay downtown watching peaceful protesters was not the most effective and efficient use of law enforcement resources, while urgent needs for response and follow up on armed robberies was lacking. A better use of sworn personnel would have been to ensure presence in community and commercial corridors facing armed robberies throughout the city. A discussion about making gun violence a top law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland will help ensure that resources are distributed in a more effective and just manner.
September 29, 2020 Meeting Agenda:
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