SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—Crime remains a scourge in Oakland, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods. The city is divided economically and geographically with more affluent areas in the hills hiring private security while neighborhoods down below take the brunt of the crime.
Over the years, the police department has had a variety of masters to serve: an independent monitor from the federal court, a separate compliance monitor who was removed after a year and high-profile consultant William Bratton who was hired to help the department’s restructure and City Hall—where there have been accusations of meddling and a possible mayoral transition looms.
Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent told KCBS In Depth’s co-hosts Jane McMillan and Ed Cavagnaro about the city’s efforts to reduce violent crime and said that things are getting better.
Whent said there are several reasons for the improvements, including a growing police department and a greater investment in community policing which he says will slowly rebuild trust between residents and police.
“It doesn’t change overnight,” Whent said. “This is not something that we are going to fix in a couple of months. But ultimately I think that a lot of this has to do with the community’ trust in the police department—we’ve really started to work on that.”
He also said that Operation Cease Fire is having an impact. Whent said there was a 28 percent reduction in murders last year and nine fewer homicides so far this year than at the same point in 2013.
LISTEN TO ENTIRE INTERVIEW: