Oakland, CA, surpassed 100 homicides in 2009 this Thanksgiving weekend, with the death of 52-year-old Enoch Reed Friday Afternoon. Even though Oakland's homicide rate seems incredibly high, it is significantly lower than last year, when they reached the 100 mark in September. Oakland finished 2008 with 124 homicides, an extremely high number, yet much lower than the record 175 in 1992.
One reason for the drop this year is thought to be Mayor Ron Dellums commitment to drop crime by 10% during his term. So far, Oakland has already seen a decrease in homicides by over 20%, according to police. These decreases are attributed to an increase in police officers, with an increase to 837 officers, the most in Oakland Police history.
Although the decrease in homicides, violent crime, arson, robbery, and property crime, there are increases in aggravated assaults, with already over 3,500 this year, and rapes with over 200. Overall this year, crime in general is down over 13 percent.
Oakland residents hope that the crime rates continue to drop with the help of newly elected police chief Anthony Batts, who came to Oakland after 30 years in the Long Beach Police Department, where under Batts leadership, crime rates dropped to its lowest point in over 30 years.
Batts, who gave the 2009 Oakland Officersâ€™ shootings as his motive for taking the position, hopes to revamp the department to help lower crime rates more. He recently told reporters and residents "The force is broken and needs a lot of tender loving care,"
he said, referring to the Department, and realizes the time to act is now. "There is no greater challenge than the one we are facing today."
With these commitments from local officials, Oakland residents think now, more than ever, they can truly be more safe and see a drop in crime.