Facing the highest homicide total since 2006, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan has vowed to make the city safer in 2013, in part by raising the hiring age of police recruits from 20 to 25, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Raising the age of recruits would allow the department to get officers with college degrees and military experience, among other things, Jordan said a day after a 15-year-old girl was fatally shot, becoming the city’s 131st homicide victim.
“We feel like having certain life experience to be a police officer helps you to be more attuned to what’s happening in the community,” he said. The core of Jordan’s strategy involves improving relations between police and members of the community. He said he would create smaller policing areas, have residents give input on police training, and pair young officers with nonprofit or community groups. Oakland has seen a 23 percent increase in the most serious crimes, which include incidents from burglary to robbery. The city’s 131 homicides as of Monday afternoon were the highest since 2006.