East Bay News

Oakland officials prepare new crime reduction plan

Friday, August 17, 2012

There's a major new effort underway to try to stop the killings in Oakland. Called Ceasefire, it's a new crime-fighting strategy that officials hope will drastically reduce the number of shootings in the city. So far this year, 73 people have been killed. Six happened in just the past week.

The City of Oakland has been down this road before, implementing a new initiative to get guns off the street, only to have little or limited success.

"As a person who live and works in the city of Oakland, I've seen a lot of plans come and go," said Reygan Harmon, senior policy advisor to Mayor Jean Quan.

On Friday city leaders met behind closed doors to discuss Ceasefire, a new crime-fighting plan. This time they insist the approach will be different.

"We're getting technical assistance which is something that the city has not received before," Harmon said.

The plan is built on community alliances and will use data analysis to best utilize the city's limited resources. According to Harmon, crunching the numbers will provide the city and partnering law enforcement agencies with real data for a targeted approach.

"The federal government, ATF, DEA, FBI, US Marshals. So it's coordinating that existing assistance that we have from them and weaving it in to the Ceasefire initiative as well as local law enforcement like probation and parole," Harmon said.

But getting everyone to sign off on the plan may not be easy. Oakland's law enforcement policies have long had the reputation of targeting black men.

Though, resident Tony Starks disagrees, "It's not just targeting African American men." He notes that the spike in crime demands creative policing, "It's basically for everybody's safety. You know, so everybody should want that.

Frank Castro is part of the community based group Make Oakland Better Now. He says Ceasefire can only be successful if the community is a partner with law enforcement, "We have your back, you know, use us as a resource. There are a lot of residents in the city of Oakland that want to make the city better."

The city is planning a campaign to introduce Ceasefire to the community. They hope to roll it out in September.

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oakland, jean quan, crime, guns, shooting, east bay news
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