To “Hack” At Roots of Crime Woes

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has offered the first details of a “100 Blocks” anticrime plan to focus city resources on the 100 most deadly blocks – areas where 90 percent of the city’s homicides and shootings occur, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Most are clustered around public housing. Some residents are skeptical. Many say they haven’t seen any changes and didn’t even know that their neighborhoods had been identified by city officials.

The plan calls for virtually every local government agency – including the Police Department, libraries, Parks Department, Public Works Department, public housing and the school district – to focus resources on the 100 blocks. The rationale is that most of the city’s crime is somehow linked to those areas. If those neighborhoods can improve, then crime throughout the city will fall. “We don’t want to displace crime, so it just moves elsewhere. We want to hack it at its roots,” said Oakland police Sgt. Chris Bolton, chief of staff for Police Chief Howard Jordan. That means job fairs, cleaning graffiti and other blight, a free summer camp for kids, extra police officers on patrol, enhanced efforts to track parolees, more block parties and other efforts. Similar tactics have reduced crime in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, said Reygan Harmon, Quan’s public safety policy adviser.

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