OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland Police Department released alarming new crime numbers Monday morning indicating that this was the deadliest January in two decades with 15 homicides in the past month, marking a 1,400% increase over January of last year.
The figures, which are drawn from the Oakland Police Department’s crime database, showed that 15 homicides that happened in the last month were under investigation versus only one reported homicide in January of 2020.
A press release issued by the Oakland Police Officers’ Association stated that it had been 20 years since that many homicides were committed in the month of January, dating back to January 2001.
The release pointed out that the figures also showed there were 64 shootings and murders in January alone, a 129% increase over January 2020, a rate of more than two shooting a day and a murder every other day for the past month.
The Oakland Police Department has been struggling with a rise in violent street crime over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early last month, interim chief Susan Manheimer said the city recorded 102 murders over the course of a violent 2020, the highest total since 2012.
Manheimer has said her goal this year is to bring violent crime and homicides down in Oakland.
The interim chief and the Oakland Police Officers’ Association have been vocal in the last month about their opposition to proposed cuts to the department due to budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
Manheimer said the department could see cuts of about $15 million due to a city budget deficit. The chief said the department already made a $7 million cut last year.
Chief Manheimer said officers will always prioritize shootings and other violent incidents. Depending on how busy they are, calls for burglaries and other non-life-threatening incidents may receive a less-rapid police response. Manheimer said the cuts will affect residents from the Oakland Hills down to the bay.
“I think what we’re doing is going back to basics a little bit … collapsing some of our specialty units, recognizing and hoping this is temporary,” Manheimer said. She said the traffic enforcement unit has already been removed.
Last week, the department posted on Twitter that ShotSpotter activations were also up 131% in the past month over January 2020 as of January 24 with 209 activations in the week ending January 24 alone.
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
The police officers’ union has warned that crime in Oakland has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic and that now is not the time to cut officers on the streets.
Early in January, the Oakland Police Officers’ Association took out a full-page ad in the East Bay Times that pointed to the number of murders year over year as an example of how violent crime skyrocketed in Oakland in 2020.
Anyone with information about any fatal shootings in the past month is asked to contact the OPD’s Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the TIP LINE at (510) 238-7950.