Oakland city leaders say crime is down, crediting Ceasefire program

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

OAKLAND, Calif.Oakland city leadership said crime is going down in the Town.

The latest crime data shows that overall crime is down 33% compared to this time last year, and 17% compared to the 3-year average.

Specifically, city leaders highlighted reductions in violent crimes like homicides (17%), assaults (7%), rape (21%), and burglaries (50%).

Numbers for robberies are still up 11%, but they said that number has been decreasing in recent weeks. It was up as high as 49% in February.

The head of Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention, Dr. Holly Joshi, credits the improvements to the re-implementation of Oakland’s Ceasefire Program.

Ceasefire was originally put into effect in 2012 but disbanded in 2019.

Early this year, the city revived the program, working with community and faith leaders to interfere with crime before it happens.

“What Ceasefire does is it uses police, intelligence, and community information to identify those at the center of violence who are most at risk of picking up a gun and committing a violent crime,” said Joshi.

Assistant Police Chief Tony Jones said reviving the program required them to reorganize the police department from a reactive organization to a proactive crime-fighting police force.

Joshi said the longer the program continues, the more crime rates will go down, trickling down to even petty crime.

“Those at the center of gun and group violence are also involved in street robberies, so what I expect to see is that as we continue to implement the model with fidelity, that robberies will go down as well,” she said.

And while this is not a time for celebration just yet. She said, “This information is providing us with the feedback that we needed, that the re-implementation of Ceasefire does work, and it is taking us in the direction that we need to go in, but by no means do we think we’ve arrived.”

However, some Oakland residents are surprised to hear crime is down.

“The crime itself, we do see an uptick in the Temescal area where cars are being broken into, the sideshows are continuing to happen, right next to a fire station too,” said Christopher Novak.

A woman named Cheryl said she grew up in Oakland, and she always carries pepper spray around for protection.

“I don’t feel safe,” she said. “I’m constantly looking around, watching my back.”

Others said they have been feeling safer as of late.

“I feel a lot safer here, especially at night, compared to San Francisco where it can be a lot more dangerous,” said Joshua Sosa, who works in Oakland. “I definitely see the change in crime rates dropping.”

Bridget Cain, a business owner in Oakland, runs two clothing and apparel stores, Proper Fashion and Nates 4 Men, in downtown’s City Center.

“The bipping has gone down considerably,” she said. “I really feel, and our customers feel, that they are safer.”

Cain said she thinks things are changing for the better.

“I’m very happy that we finally have a chief of police, which we needed for over a year,” said Cain. “Our youth are very important. We can find something for them to do other than this crime, the gangs,” she added, in reference to the Ceasefire program.

Additionally, while some argue not all crimes are reported, the city said the number of calls to 911 and their non-emergency number has remained the same.

Mayor Sheng Thao said in a statement that read in part, “Oakland is turning the corner and the public safety strategies we have implemented are paying off… I am proud of the progress we have made together as a community, however, our work is not done and we will continue to fight for the safer and more prosperous Oakland that we all deserve.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.