Just eight months on the job, Oakland Police chief LeRonne Armstrong decries a 100% increase in carjackings and a 50% increase in shootings compared to this point last year.
Oakland Police chief LeRonne Armstrong released some alarming new crime stats Thursday where he also paid tribute to 87 people who were killed in violence this year by pausing for 87 seconds.
According to NBC Bay Area, Oakland has seen over 400 shootings this year which represents an almost 50% increase from 2020. "Shootings are a real indication of the increase in violence in our community. To see shootings up 50% is really concerning," said Armstrong at a media conference.
The same increase is true for armed robberies with more than 700 of them last year. According to NBC Bay Area, carjackings appear to be skyrocketing even further with 329 cases this year. That’s a 100% increase from last year. Armstrong says criminals are teaming up in two’s and three’s and robbing unsuspecting victims which can sometimes lead to shootings or killings. "It has presented tremendous challenges for us," Armstrong said.
Armstrong says he has relocated extra officers to patrol known crime spots but he says his department is severely lacking resources with less than 700 officers. Those on patrol have helped arrest nearly 200 robbery suspects so far this year. 19 have been taken into custody in August alone. Also in August, Alameda County prosecutors were able to charge 31-suspects with homicide. Armstrong also praised his officers for taking over 800 guns off Oakland streets in 2021.
Armstrong asked community members to try to intervene if they see their friends or relatives resorting to violence. “You don't have to wait for a funeral to give someone flowers," Armstrong said. Oakland resident Rev. Billy Dixon agrees that it will come down to the community taking accountability. "Let's see what we can do. Let's see if we can get you out of that part of having to participate in violence, having to defend yourself, or even picking up a weapon at all," Dixon told NBC Bay Area. Armstrong says the department continues to use a strategy to fight gun violence known as “Ceasefire” which has worked in the past to drive down the number of shootings and homicides in Oakland.
Photo Credit: Oaklandca.gov