With a 62 million dollar shortfall facing the city of Oakland and cuts to the police department of 15 million dollars expected, a 2020 warning from the Oakland Police Officers’ Association has become a reality as homicide in the city have spiked 1300% in 2021.
Oakland has had 14 homicides since the start of the year — that compares with a single homicide during the same time period last year.
2020 saw close to a 30% increase in homicides from 2019 with 102 last year.
With demands of “de-funding” the police along with an unprecedented budget shortfall, it appears the citizens of Oakland are in for a rough and rocky year.
Preliminary proposals call for disbanding the traffic enforcement division, eliminating all foot and bicycle patrols and canceling the spring 2021 police academy for new officers.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf blames stress and more powerful weapons for the uptick in violence, telling ABC7 that “we recognize that people are really stressed out, emotions are high. We’re seeing other kinds, like road rage violence, that we believe is caused by overall stress.”
The mayor also blames more powerful weapons for increasing Oakland’s homicide rate.
In addition to the “de-funding efforts”, Oakland also recently removed law enforcement from schools last week with Superintendent Matt Wayne telling SF Gate, “After a national reckoning on issues of racial injustice and policing practices, we owed it to our community to pause and have in-depth conversations about the impact of police officers on our campuses.”
There were 209 ShotSpotter Activations reported from 1/18-1/24. Activations are up 131% YTD. OPD officers recovered 59 firearms this year. Working together as a community, we can reduce the level of violence in our city #OPDCARES. pic.twitter.com/sRyKThya5A
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) January 26, 2021
Union president Barry Donelan says officers want to make sure Oakland residents understand exactly what’s happening in their community and in 2020, they advertised their concerns in the East Bay Times on the pending violence to come.
Crime and de-funding isn’t the only item that Oakland cops have to worry about.
According to the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, “Oakland Police Officers are struggling to respond to surging violent crime during the pandemic. But unlike most big cities, San Jose Police or law enforcement in the counties around us, Oakland Police Officers still have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.”