Oakland Crime Stats Update, March 2009

Apologies for the light posting last week and technical problems on Friday. I believe the issue has now been resolved and hopefully it will not happen again. Light posting, however, can probably be expected for the rest of the week, as I’m kind of swamped through Sunday. For now, I offer a crime stats update.

From the Daily Crime Report for March 15th (XLS):


Both violent and property crimes continue to be down compared to last year, although not down as much as they were when I did this in February (Violent crime at that point was down 16.39% from last year, compared to 12.97% today, and property crimes were down 29.14% from last year, compared to 25.36% today.)

24 thoughts on “Oakland Crime Stats Update, March 2009

  1. 94610BizMan

    I watch the Oakland Crime spotting map and the wave of violent crime has receded from our residential neighborhood over the last three months. Property crime is down but still bothersome with some unfortunate aggressive confrontations over auto break-ins that could have turned violent. There also seems like a regular burglary team working one end of the neighborhood. Overall I think the crime rate is still unacceptable even for my neighborhood let alone other neighborhoods in Oakland but I’m happy about the noticeable decrease.

    I have no clear explanations since I haven’t noticed any obvious change in policing and the neighborhood awareness hasn’t changed.

  2. Almer Mabalot

    GintongPinoy here, Glad to see the crimes go down by a noticeable percentage. I hope this tend continues, and hopefully ease the mental fear of crime in the city.

  3. oaklandhappenings

    The homicides listed in the table seem to reflect SFgate’s homicide map,
    http://www.sfgate.com/maps/oaklandhomicides/ which seems accurate, although it shows one more marker than the number it notes. That might be since the February Fruitvale BART parking lot self-defense one is undoubtedly(?) justifiable.
    Aside from that one, for some reason, the Trib is adding two more, which I think is an error; looking under the search field for numbers (e.g. 10, 10th or tenth), that one doesn’t come up, and a following one doesn’t either.
    Anyway, those are just my reading observations; knowing that by December, it will hardly make any difference.

  4. We Fight Blight

    We are happy to see that the crime rates have gone down among all categories. This is certainly positive. In North Oakland, there is a feeling that criminal activity is not as prevalent as it once was. We are seeing far more quality of life stops by the Oakland Police and a visible Police presence along major corridors such as Telegraph and Shattuck Avenue. This approach, along with the new geographic focus, seems to be making a difference. Enforcing the small things are key. Contrary to J Douglas Allen Taylor ‘s apologist and anti-police mentality, this effort is working. Temescal continues to prosper with the opening of BARLATA. Small business development is important to the reduction of crime. Because of the relationship between blight and crime, We Fight Blight would like to see far more people getting involved to enforce the Blight Ordinance. We feel like a lone wolf at times, though we are making steady progress.

  5. annoyed

    All the enablers must be having fits. The economy is off the rails and crime is going down. We have more cops, and crime is going down. I am sure the outreach personnel are making some diference but it’s hard to measure how much. OPD has been making some good busts of gangs and other organized criminal activity. OPD has also made quality of life crimes a higher priority. The enablers really hate that and insist that it’s racist or something. I’d just like to say that people of color, and all people, have as much right to the quiet and safe enjoyment of their property as anyone. I’m sick of people telling me that because I’m not white, I should be happy to live around criminal actiivity, noise, and general chaos.

    I’m particularly glad for the stepped up traffic enforcement. I’ve been saying for years that a lot of bad guys could be caught if we’d increase traffic enforcement. Apparently they are finding stolen cars, guns, people with outstanding warrants, and other items of interest.

    Good job, OPD.

  6. gem s

    I think I’ll wait to see how 2009 turns out once it gets warmer and stops raining. Crime tends to increase when people have an opportunity to be up and out of the house.

  7. 94610BizMan

    gem s.
    Last winter was very bad crime-wise in our neighborhood so I don’t buy the bad weather cause. One of our neighbors was attacked on a cold rainy night last winter coming home from a night out. We shall see what happens over the next few months

  8. truthseeker

    What? the mayor gets no credit for the plan he developed and implemented. I am shocked! V smooth and Chip Johnson are two of the laziest opinion writer I have ever read. I think that if they had any respect for their readers they would care to do some analysis and basic research. Pasting crime statistics up and not offering an opinion because she does not dare to say anything positive about the mayor is pathetic.

  9. Ralph

    truthseeker, what would you have either V or Chip say? What exactly has the mayor done? Do you have an explanation for what caused the drop? What if she had said that speculation around the city is fewer people are reporting crimes what would you have said.

    I am almost certain that the drop in crime is directly related to the decrease in 15 – 27 year olds. Are you happy?

  10. oaklandhappenings

    Bizman, I agree with you. As I have reminded the folks on SFGate as well, crime is likely to be higher when there is a high heat index (a calculation of humidity and temperature) rather than temperature alone.
    In the winter when it rains, humidity is often high to the point of discomfort–especially when the equator-”pineapple express” storms come in; these are much warmer than the cold, gulf of Alaska ones. This is also why there are times when we have a summer’s dry heat wave, that crime doesn’t seem any worse– if not better–than the humid, winter rainy periods. The summertime crime that people often worry about being higher, is likely a result of high humidity (foggy evenings caused by our summer marine layer), along with perhaps more “kids” out of school and on the streets. Then again, kid-criminals probably aren’t in school to begin with.
    Anyway, I’m sorry for any repetition, but those in denial that summer crime is always/often worse than winter crime could consider this food for thought.

  11. 94610BizMan

    One thing that makes any short term analysis difficult to nail down causes with any certainty is that the fluctuations are actually rather small if one assumes the existence of a “career criminal” group.

    For example take the following hypothetical. The robberies declined from 773 to 638 for a difference of 135 over 10 weeks. It would take only six arrests (or six criminal leaving Oakland) to account for 50% of the drop if these career criminals committed one robbery per week.

    I’m not saying this is the only cause but speaking to OPD contacts and some criminal lawyers the assumption of one robbery per week isn’t that far off. In fact, a run of robberies (two per week) in our neighborhood ended when a suspect was arrested. So seven career criminals committing two robberies per week would account for 100% of the drop.

    Again, I am not arguing a particular cause but I am only pointing out that small shifts can account for much of the changes in an already high crime rate.

    However, I am at a lost how anyone can persuasive argue causality for the crime drop from any of the mayor’s actions. While I tend towards the “career criminal” argument maybe “violence prevention” is working.

    Either way it is way too soon to hand out awards to anyone.

  12. Robert

    And maybe it is just that Chief Tucker’s reforms to department procedures are paying off.

  13. gem s

    oaklandhappenings, a high heat index is a calculation that explains higher perceived temperature (for humans) at higher humidity relative to temperature. That doesn’t correlate to wintertime humidity, as the heat index only comes into effect as a calculation when the temperature is over 68 degrees fahrenheit. Regarding summer evening fog: sure, in Berkeley. Living in East and West Oakland, evening fog was a rarity. Keep in mind that the advection fog we experience is a result of moist air rising and _cooling_, and that serves to bring down temperatures, and therefore the heat index in the Bay Area. If you would like to learn more about local weather patterns, I highly recommend Weather of the San Francisco Bay Region by Harold Gilliam.

    As to heat/crime correlation, many, many studies have shown positive linear correlations to crimes of aggression and higher temperatures -google Craig Anderson, he’s a researcher at Iowa State who’s been investigating crime and temperature for decades; he’s also studied the correlation of colder temperatures and robberies (it makes sense to rob places when it’s dark and cold and there are less people out and about). I don’t think the researchers are “in denial”, as you state, but if you have data to back up that claim please cite it, because it’s bound to be interesting.

    BizMan, aside from January, rainfall in the winter of 2008 was well below normal. It would be worth investigating if the crime wave you speak of took place mostly in January. That would be an anomaly that bucks many investigations, as I pointed out above. Certainly worth checking out.

  14. oaklandhappenings

    gem s, thank you for the extra info. I was mainly addressing posters who always say vaguely on crime comment-pages “well, just wait for hotter weather later in the year…crime will be up”. Looking back at muggy March 2006, when it rained most days, homicides were way up, whereas during a dry, less-humid May and June, they were each almost half of March’s total. The same was for crime overall too, I believe. Anyway, I wasn’t intending to say that you yourself was in denial, hence the word “those” (including SF.gate posters). Apologies for any unintended offense towards you.

  15. truthseeker

    we actually had a very dry january, the biggest drop in crime happened then. ralph, that comment was not in reference to just one posting. it is a general observation of the combined posting. why is it that oaklanders seem to be bent on failing? Again, this is not a comment based on one experience.

  16. V Smoothe Post author

    Just so everyone’s clear – January 2009 marked a large drop in crime compared to January 2008. It’s not a drop in crime from the period immediately preceding it. In fact, January 2009 and February 2009 both recorded more Par 1 crimes than December 2008. March looks like it will as well.t

  17. Ken O

    It may seem counter-intuitive, but crimanimals prefer wet weather, because it masks their sounds and provides “cover.”

    Night provides the same thing, hence higher crime between say 7pm-2am.

  18. Navigator

    So homicide in Oakland is down nearly 60%, in almost three months, and I hear nothing from the media. When does this become a news story in the Bay Area? I wonder what the media reaction would have been had Oakland’s homicide rate been UP 60%. So now, next year they”ll be up in arms when Oakland’s homicide rate goes up compared to the extraordinary low numbers to start THIS year. So, Oakland gets NO credit when the homicide rate is down, and THEN those numbers are used to amplify the fear factor when compared to an average or high count the following year. I get how that works!

  19. oaklandhappenings

    Navigator, all I can guess–trying to be careful with my words here–is that because SF’s crime, including homicides, is also down by about the same %ages vs last year’s numbers through the first 11 weeks, it doesn’t make Oakland’s stand out and worth reporting. Even KTVU of all stations proved that two nights ago. I will leave it at that.

  20. SF2OAK

    I somehow don’t buy the stats and the crime really is out of control here even if there is a statistical drop- the levels were so high to begin with. Please go to the spreadsheet and not only to this condensed version for a better picture- it continues to be outrageous. OAK still needs to get tough with criminals. In fact some tv reported a crime happened in SF and the criminals fled back to OAK.
    Anecdotally, a man was shot is his car by automatic weapons( this is the true part Harrison St.)- it don’t know how but apparently he survived, so this crime is not a homicide but aggravated assault? or assault with firearm. Btw our newspaper person was robbed at gunpoint at 5:30 this morning- not a very lucrative target.

    What I’d like to see on those stats is what is the resolution of those cases.

  21. joe blow

    my question is: why is it so much crime when you have african americans around?? why is it that blacks commit most crimes and does anybody notice that as well? If you look at Richmond and compton, the highest rate city’s in Ca, you will see that blacks or african american commit these aweful crimes… do the questions is what do you?

  22. livegreen

    Higher rates of poverty while living in dense areas, with broken families, while falling in love with (in some cases) a bad-boy gangsta-ghetto culture that supports or even excuses violence (gangsta rap, etc.).

    There is a very large permanently unemployed population (because of low or no education) which in the past would have been employable for low wage jobs, but is no longer because of both off-shoring, and because white & asians prefer to hire poor latinos and poor asians, who are perceived (truthfully or falsely) to be more honest and hard working…