Mayor Schaaf ‘Disappointed’ That Homicides Are Up This Year

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says she’s “disappointed” that her city is ending 2015 with more homicides than last year but said the city nonetheless is making progress in its overall fight against crime.

At the time Schaaf issued her statement on Christmas Eve, Oakland had four more homicides to date than the same time last year.

Schaaf said in her statement, “Nothing pains me more as mayor than each one of these senseless losses.”

But she added, “While it is little consolation for the families and friends of those who have lost their lives to violence in our city, we are making progress in the fight against crime. Overall, Oakland is getting safer.”

Schaaf, who took office as mayor in January and previously served on the City Council, said Oakland’s homicide totals in 2014 and 2015 “are the lowest homicide numbers we’ve seen in more than a decade.”

She said, “While more of the shootings that occurred this year were fatal, 2015 marks the third consecutive year of double-digit reductions in shootings in Oakland.”

To put the three-year trend into perspective, Schaaf said nearly 250 fewer Oaklanders were injured or killed by gun violence this year than in 2012 and more than 1,100 fewer people were victims of violent crime in 2015 than in 2012.

“Making Oakland safe remains my highest priority. I remain confident in Oakland police Chief Sean Whent and many other violence prevention partners to redouble our efforts in 2016,” she said.

Schaaf said the city will expand its “Ceasefire” strategy to reduce group and gang-related violence “while we better leverage our prevention efforts by working closely with county, school district and community partners in implementing our recently-created comprehensive community safety plan.”

She said the city will launch “major efforts” to triple the number of college graduates through the Oakland Promise program as well as create more living-wage jobs through business attraction and strengthening small Oakland-grown businesses.

“We enter the new year determined that these short-term and long-term strategies will make Oakland safer for all,” Schaaf said.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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