More officers will patrol Oakland streets starting Saturday in a plan that Mayor Ron Dellums and Police Chief Wayne Tucker hope will reduce spiraling violence, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The city also will adopt a neighborhood policing model that would divide the city into five parts with each overseen by a captain who serves as a kind of proxy chief. All officers now report to one commander.
Oakland recorded 148 homicides last year, the highest level in a decade. Meanwhile, crimes such as burglaries, robberies, and assaults have prompted an outcry from residents who say officers don’t respond fast enough to calls. Oakland is down about 87 officers from the department’s authorized strength of 803. Of the 716 officers now on the force, 200 are assigned to patrols, and at any given time the city has about 38 officers patrolling the streets. Those officers are inundated with calls. Dellums said the city will work with the community to address the “myriad root causes” of crime. Most importantly, he said, ex-offenders need jobs. The city will work with law enforcement and the private sector to provide more job training for parolees.