I really, really, really hope that CBS5 was taking Victor Ochoa’s words out of context. Sadly, I doubt it.
The news story in question is about two recent daytime homicides in Oakland. We’re currently at 68 homicides in Oakland for the year (down from 74 at this time last year. Yippee!).
The story’s main source is Victor Ochoa, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’s deputy chief of staff. First, police Sgt. Robert Nolan offers the following insights into Oakland’s homicide problem:
“Homicide is still a rare event,” Nolan said. “The fact that we have had a few during the day recently doesn’t necessarily make it a trend.”
and Mr. Ochoa continues:
Oakland police are constantly pinpointing new high-crime areas and redeploying officers as needed, but Ochoa said he didn’t know if there would be more officers working during the day following the recent shootings.
The city has after-school programs to try to keep crime down, Ochoa said. Additionally, the city offers re-entry services like job preparation and placement.
But more needs to be done, Ochoa insists.
The main thing is educating residents about working to make the city safer, he said.
“Community policing means community involvement and that is essential,” Ochoa said. “It has to be a total community effort with prevention and intervention strategies in addition to the enforcement. That is the only way we are going to make a dent in the crime statistics.”
I don’t mean to sound like Charles Pine, but Mr. Ochoa’s priorities are disturbingly misplaced. “Educating residents” is not going to solve our crime problem. The only way we can “make a dent in the crime statistics” is by hiring more police officers! Our police department is absurdly understaffed, and it is disgusting that Dellums’s office would attempt to shift the blame for our crime problems from a malfunctioning city government to the people he is supposed to represent.