Oakland sees 7% increase in violent crime for 2019

Oakland city leaders met Monday to discuss crime data from last year which shows an uptick in violent activity in the city. 

In 2019, there were 400 more cases of violent crime in Oakland than the year before, an increase of 7 percent. 

There were 74 homicides in 2019, seven more than the previous year.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said despite the increase in crime, the city is becoming safer. 

"While it is unacceptable to see any increase in crime. We do want to recognize that overall we are seeing the longest sustained period of homicides under 90 and only the third period of fewer than 7,000 total violent crimes in six consecutive years." 

There was also an increase in vehicle burglaries and laptop thefts. 

Oakland Police Department Chief Anne Kirkpatrick consulted the San Francisco Police Department in a bid to find solutions to reduce those rates. 

Chief Kirkpatrick stated Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, San Leandro, and Piedmont Police all saw an uptick in similar crimes so they would come together and designate two officers from each department to tackle laptop and vehicle burglaries. 

Mayor Schaaf also introduced anti-violence expert Guillermo Cespedes who will be the chief of the new Department of Violence Prevention.

He helped Los Angeles see a 57 percent drop in gang-related deaths and has worked with other countries as well. 

The department's goal is to reduce homicides by 80 percent in three years but how that gets done-is still being worked out.

"Oakland is not Tunisia. It's not Honduras, El Salvador. It's got its own unique personality and set of unique characteristics that we have to address,” Cespedes stated.