Oakland police create new division to address murder spike
on April 5, 2021
The violent start to 2021 has prompted Oakland’s new police chief, LeRonne L. Armstrong, to create a division focused on reducing murders and shootings in the city.
About 60 officers have been reassigned to the new Violent Crime Operations Center, Armstrong said in a news conference Friday. They will work with the department’s ceasefire team to address homicides, which tripled year-over-year to 34 in the first quarter of 2021.
Armstrong said he shifted resources “so we can be faster in our response to violence, so that we can be more nimble in our approach to solving violent crimes, but also so we can have citywide enforcement efforts.”
The Alameda County district attorney’s office has filed charges in 13 homicides this year, Armstrong said, the most recent being the March 24 shooting death of Derrick Glenn at an East Oakland gas station. While violence has touched every neighborhood, much of it has been concentrated in East Oakland, Armstrong said.
Some has come from illegal sideshows, he noted. And some are hate crimes, such as recent attacks on Asians in Chinatown.
Armstrong said the city has towed 20 vehicles believed to be involved in sideshows, made 11 arrests and recovered two guns. He said the department has made several arrests in the hate crimes.
The community has helped make those arrests happen, Armstrong said. He credited residents who are working to bring change to the city and thanked local pastors, particularly Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church, for leading vigils for the victims and encouraging people to get involved.
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