East Bay News

Shift in crime fighting tactics may be helping Oakland police

Friday, May 24, 2013

Police in Oakland arrested a few suspected robbers Friday. It may not sound significant, but they say a few more key arrests like these could make a serious dent in their crime rate. The arrest comes just hours after a man celebrating his birthday in Oakland's entertainment district was shot during a robbery.

Oakland police have made it no secret that the spike in robberies has forced them to get creative. They've partnered with other agencies and even shifted resources. On Friday, there was evidence suggesting the shift in tactics may be working.

"We want to identify who's responsible for the robberies, locate them, and arrest them," OPD Officer Johnna Watson said.

In video you'll only see on ABC7 News, our cameras were at 62nd Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard when OPD's Gangs, Guns, and Intelligence Task Force stopped three men for a traffic violation.

Officers arrested two of the men after the traffic stop took a turn.

"We recovered two firearms," Officer Watson said. "One is a replica. The other is a loaded, illegally possessed firearm."

Police tell me they also found something else.

"We have discovered evidence that indicates they are connected to other robberies in the city," Officer Watson said.

Police have not said if the men arrested Friday are suspects in an overnight robbery and shooting near Oakland's Uptown District.

They will only say an Oakland man was leaving a club with friends, when they were approached by three men.

Police say one of the men had a gun and robbed one of the women of her coat before turning the gun on the man and shooting him in the abdomen.

"I'm not surprised about it," Oakland resident Francois Alexander said.

Alexander has lived in Oakland for 30 years and says gun violence on this block, where he's owned and operated his business since 2007, is nothing new.

"It should be Uptown, but it is the opposite," he said. "I call it Downtown, not Uptown."

For their part, police say surveillance video from the area may provide them with clues and help them to identify those responsible.

The three men were last seen running away on Williams Street.

Police believe a small number of individuals are responsible for a majority robberies happening throughout the city. They warn that if you are a victim of a robbery, do not give chase. They say to stay back, be safe, and be a good witness.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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oakland, shooting, violence, crime, OPD, east bay news
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