OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Police Chief said “groups and gangs” are responsible for a shocking surge in violence, and his police department is deploying “all hands on deck” to restore public safety.
Last week was Oakland’s deadliest week of 2022 — eight people lost their lives to gun violence. On Tuesday morning, a ninth homicide victim was gunned down.
Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced his department is deploying every resource available to immediately get more officers on the streets.
New and veteran officers alike will be deployed into violence-plagued areas “to reduce the loss of life. You can’t put a cost on loss of life. I’m willing to deal with whatever fallout there may be to make this city safer,” Armstrong told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“I know people are fearful. This is a difficult time in the city. We have seen a huge spike in gun violence,” Armstrong said.
Officers will set up mobile command centers on streets where gang retaliation shootings are most likely to occur. “There is a small group of people who are driving violence in Oakland,” Armstrong said. “We will have increased officer presence in East Oakland, as well as some areas in West Oakland, where we know certain groups and gangs congregate.”
The police chief said violence is being fueled by “groups and gangs” from both Oakland and San Francisco. OPD is working closely with the San Francisco Police Department to stop violence between rival gangs from spreading across the bay. Armstrong said “groups and gangs” are responsible for one-third of all shootings.
On Monday, the Oakland Police Officers’ Association said officers are being inundated with 911 calls reporting “murder and mayhem.”
“Every week, thousands of 911 calls come into the Oakland Police Department. A skeleton staff of police officers is struggling to respond,” union president Barry Donelan said.
The union wrote, “Oakland police officers are exhausted by the daily violence.”
Armstrong said he is aware of and concerned about “officer fatigue” from rising overtime hours. “I understand the fatigue this can have on our staff,” the police chief said. Nonetheless, “every resource we can utilize, we will utilize,” he said.
Tuesday’s deadly shooting was Oakland’s 96th homicide of 2022.
Two victims were shot at 10 a.m. on Edes Avenue in East Oakland. One of the victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital. The victim’s name was not immediately released.
In addition to more officers patrolling the streets, the Oakland Police Department said it will also restart its traffic enforcement unit, add eight officers permanently to the Criminal Investigation Division, and team up with federal law enforcement agencies.