Oakland officials are refusing to declare a state of emergency, despite a rising crime rate that saw 15 people shot in gun violence this past weekend. Four of them were killed, according to the Contra Costa Times
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan blamed two feuding gangs for the unprecedented weekend violence, saying the gangs were responsible for about 90 percent of the city’s shootings, robberies, and murders since last summer. He put the toll in these terms: 2,000 robberies and 65 homicides just in the second half of last year.
The weekend outbreak of violence was enough to have Oakland Vice Mayor Larry Reid urge his fellow city officials to declare a state of emergency. But Mayor Jean Quan said Monday Oakland was already getting the same assistance it would if it were to ask for an official declaration from Gov. Jerry Brown.
An official declaration would allow the state to pay overtime for additional law enforcement drawn from other districts to help out in Oakland. It would also give the city the authority to impose a curfew in certain areas "to preserve public order and safety," the Contra Costa Times reported.
"We understand it's an emergency," Quan explained, according to the newspaper. "We have called for assistance and gotten assistance from everybody we have asked so far, and we'll be asking for more over the next few weeks."
Reid, however, said, "No one seems to understand that this is a crisis and that we have to reach out as far as we can to make this city a safer place."
Violent crime has increased 23 percent over the past year in Oakland, coinciding with retirements and resignations that have dropped the police force to 612 officers, its smallest size in over a decade. As a result, officers are being forced to work overtime just to keep staffing levels up on the streets.
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