Police in Oakland, Calif., are crediting proactive intervention for a sharp decline in crime so far this year, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Shootings have dropped 35 percent so far this year from last year. Homicides are down 18 percent (to 28 as of May 11), and robberies have declined significantly, down more than one-third from this time last year.
Police and city leaders attribute the changes to the improving economy, increased neighborhood unity and improved police work. Additionally, residents have banded together to hire private security patrols or install surveillance systems. “Police strategy plays a role, and I think the community outreach and activism plays a role,” said Sean Whent, Oakland’s police chief. He cited a program called Ceasefire that offers a carrot-and-stick approach for gangs. Criminologist Frank Zimring said Oakland won’t be able to declare even partial victory until the trends continue for more than five years.