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Oakland’s alarming murder rate—numbers from the war zone

Monday, January 7, 2013

And now some Bay Area killing field numbers for 2012. Oakland, with a population of 400,000, had 131 homicides, compared to San Francisco’s 68 with its 800,000 people and San Jose’s 46 with slightly more than a million. The trend line: up in each city. San Francisco had 50 murders in 2011. San Jose homicides hit a 20-year high. And for Oakland, it was the worst bloodshed in six years.

To deal with it, Oakland officials announced that they’re bringing in super cop William Bratton, the former police boss of New York and Los Angeles, as a consultant. Oakland PD, which is essentially a ward of the federal government, remains woefully understaffed, with just 613 uniformed officers.

A new police academy that started last fall helps some, as will a second academy to conclude in the spring. But already a third planned academy has been postponed. The reason? Logistical problems and a lack of instructors is the official line, the Mercury News says.

Meanwhile, Oakland’s police union, which has often called for help, is opposed to bringing in Alameda County sheriff’s deputies to help out temporarily, preferring that the city not spend half a million dollars on sheriff’s deputies. Tamerlin Drummond, the Merc’s columnist for its Oakland Tribune edition, calls Bratton’s hiring a Hail Mary.

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