OAKLAND (KPIX) — Following the freeway shooting death of 23-month-old Jasper Wu in Oakland last weekend, on Friday some community leaders are demanding more police patrols and the introduction of freeway cameras.
The CHP is leading the investigation in the toddler shooting with assistance from the Oakland Police Department. A CHP spokesman said no arrests have been made in the Wu killing.READ MORE: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce at a press conference on Friday announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. The money comes from the Crimes Against Asians Reward Fund (CAARF), created through a partnership between Burma Love and Superstar restaurants, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, and the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Since Jasper Wu was killed in crossfire on Interstate 880 last Saturday, Oakland police have responded to multiple shootings that injured more innocent people.
“[On Thursday] night, we responded to a shooting where over 198 rounds were fired in East Oakland,” said Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong at the press conference. A spokesperson said no one was killed in that shooting, which happened in the 1200 block of 89th Avenue.
As he has many times over the past year, Chief Armstrong asked for community involvement. He also pleaded with the voters and the city council that the department needs more money to hire more officers. He said the city has 681 officers, down from a high of 830 officers in 2009.
“We need to do a better job of preventing crime from happening and that means we need the resources to be able to do that,” said Chief Armstrong.
The police department reported so far this year, Oakland has recorded 119 homicides. That’s compared to 97 homicides in the same period last year. The Jasper Wu homicide isn’t included in that 119 number since it happened on the freeway and in the CHP jurisdiction.READ MORE: UPDATE: News Crew Security Guard Shot in Oakland Dies From Injuries; Photo of Suspect Vehicle Released
Chinatown has seen the violence firsthand. Because of the short police staffing, volunteers have been patrolling the business district.
The Chinatown Chamber president, Carl Chan, said defunding the police is nonsense.
“When a school is not doing well, some people would say ‘Let’s shut it down.’ I say no. If the school is not doing well, let’s put more resources to make changes. If the teachers are not qualified enough, let’s get qualified teachers, give them trainings,” said Chan.
The chamber also wanted freeway cameras in Oakland. Freeways I-580, I-980, and I-880 do not have cameras that record videos.
“Cameras on the freeways, exits to freeways, entries to freeways, would be a welcome addition to Oakland,” said Chief Armstrong.
“I’m also supportive of us having cameras within Oakland in our commercial corridors,” said Oakland Councilman Loren Taylor.
Taylor said he’s looking for solutions to increase morale in the police department, hit hard by officers leaving for other cities.
“It’s a fact that we need more officers on the ground. We have dipped below a number that we should not have allowed ourselves to get below,” said Taylor.
Councilwoman Carroll Fife was not ready to support cameras or more funding for officers, saying those discussions will have to be based on data.
“I want solutions that work. I don’t want emotionally-based solutions that people feel will make them safe, but don’t actually make them safe,” said Fife.MORE NEWS: Burlingame Shoppers Show Up for Small Business Saturday
Any freeway cameras would first need approval from Oakland’s Privacy Commission. And the commission signs off on the idea, the city council would get the final say.