Not since the late 1990's has Oakland gone a full six-week stretch without a homicide, but it just happened. From August 2 to September 13, no one was killed in Oakland, a 43-day stretch that hopefully marks a turning point for the city across the bay whose residents get very tired of only seeing their town on the news when someone gets shot. As Oakland North reports, it was the September 14th murder of Reginald Beamon Jr., 28, that broke the spell, becoming Oakland's 49th homicide of 2014.
As we talked about when Oakland hit their 40th killing of the year back in June, the OPD is hoping that the slowed murder rate is proof of their success in finally curbing gun violence in the city. 2013 saw a record low number of homicides in recent years, with a total of 93. 2014 is on track to have that number go even lower.
Still, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent tells Oakland North, "I don’t think we’re anywhere near getting to the point where we can say we have an acceptable crime rate. Compared to other large cities... Oakland still has way too high of a crime rate."
He hopes that this is a sign, though, that the improved economy and greater availability of jobs has made people less desperate than they were a few years ago like in 2012, when there were 126 murders.
In related news, San Francisco's homicide rate is also down. We currently stand at 28. To put that in perspective, in 2008, there were 36 homicides in the first three months of the year. In 2013, our total for the year was 48 and, like Oakland, we are on track to come in well below that.