OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Police Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong pleaded publicly Monday for an increase in resources as the department investigates seven new homicides in the past week, including three on Saturday alone.
Monday night The Oakland City Council looked at ways to distribute part of roughly $190 million the city is getting as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.READ MORE: Two Die In East Oakland Sunday Night Shooting
Despite the rise in crime, some community members say the money would be better spent elsewhere but the council did vote to fund police programs cut during the pandemic, including Operation Ceasefire, a community based approach to fighting gun violence in cooperation with police.
Chief Armstrong released a statement Monday night saying he was grateful for the council’s support and this is a first step to address violence in the city.
Earlier, the chief spoke about the rampant homicide during a press briefing, asking residents to say something if they see something as the city faces an ongoing surge in homicides and robberies.
“Really today is my appeal to the Oakland community and to everyone around the serious nature of the increase in violence that we’ve seen in Oakland,” Armstrong said. “It’s been an extremely violent seven days.”
The chief went on to say that the city had registered 41 homicides so far in 2021.
“At this time last year, we had 13 homicides. That’s an increase of 215%. That is completely unacceptable,” said Armstrong. “It’s tragic for our community to have to deal with this level of trauma and pain.”
The chief then offered his condolences to all the families of the victims who had died in gun violence this year, including three people who died on Saturday alone.
Two men and a teenager were all fatally shot in the three unrelated incidents.READ MORE: Steph Curry, Draymond Green Ready For Play-In Game; Warriors To Take On Lakers Wednesday Night
“Since March 11th, we’ve lost 13 people to homicide,” said Armstrong. “President Biden called it an epidemic. One which this city needs to respond to.”
Armstrong continued with the grim statistics, noting that there had been 159 shootings so far in 2021 compared to just 79 in the same period last year, which is an increase over 100%. Carjackings have also risen “to an unprecedented level” according to the chief, with 149 incidents compared to 57 at this time last year — an increase of 161%.
The Oakland Police Department also noted that there were 69 instances of gunfire and 53 robberies in the past week in an alert sent out to Oakland residents.
“We must come together as a city to end the violence in our community. If you see something, say something!!” the message read.
Oakland authorities raised the alarm about the rise in street violence on Friday, saying the department was investigating three new homicides and 32 robberies in the space of 24 hours, with some incidents involving suspects as young as 11 years old.
Police said the three homicides occurred within 24 hours and investigators are following up on leads.
On Monday, Armstrong also noted that his department was increasingly strapped for funds due to pandemic-related budget cuts.
“Today our council members will be taking votes for Care Act funds, hopefully reallocating resources to the department,” Armstrong said. “This is a tall task in the city of Oakland to address this violence, but you can’t do it without resources. This city has to value the lives of our community members.”
Anyone with more information on the homicides are asked to call the Oakland Police Department’s Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the tip line at (510) 238-7950.MORE NEWS: Demonstrators Call on San Francisco to Keep Great Highway Closed to Cars
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.