Oakland: Rash of Homicides in Late 2016 Push Year’s Toll to 85

By Mark Hedin, Breaking News Live

A rash of homicides in the last three months of 2016 — 34 — pushed the city’s total for the year to 85, two more than in 2015, but in keeping with Oakland’s average over the previous three years, newly released police department reports show.

Twelve of those deaths occurred in December, when there were also 49 reports of assault with a deadly weapon.

The “ShotSpotter” gunfire detection and reporting system deployed in most of the city west of Interstate 580 captured 370 incidents of gunfire, 281 of them involving multiple shots.

(“The great thing about it is a lot of times we won’t get calls in regard to shots being fired,” said Darin Snapp of the KCPD. “So ShotSpotter is our only witness, if you will, in regard to it. It leads us to within feet of where the shot was actually fired.” Courtesy of ShotSpotter and YouTube)

Police divide the city into five areas, each with its own captain, and compile data for each.

Area 5, in deep East Oakland, was the scene of 35 of the city’s 85 homicides last year, 16 of them in the last quarter of the year.

It had the most homicides by far of the five areas, with twice as many killings as adjacent to the north Area 4’s 17.

Area 1, in  West Oakland, had 18, police statistics report.

In all three regions, police cited the presence of gangs as a key aspect of the homicides.

“Large numbers of the shooting participants appear to have association with gangs or groups,” Area 5’s report said, adding that “some of the shootings occurred with persons affiliated with the same gang.”

Area 5’s report named the Case, Brookfield and Greenside gangs. No other gangs were mentioned by name, but Area 1’s report also cited gang- and group-related shootings, including internal feuds, in shootings and homicides.

Homicides occur most often in the first two-and-a-half hours of Sunday morning, the report said.

(Learn More about ShotSpotter. Courtesy of ShotSpotter and YouTube)

There were 45 rapes reported citywide in the last quarter of the year, bringing the year’s total to 196, down from 213 in 2015 and the three-year average of 206.

Area 3, which extends south from Lake Merritt to about 35th Avenue, reported the most, 44, including 10 in the final quarter. Area 1 had 41, and Area 5 had 40.

From October through December, there also were 738 robberies, with a yearly total of 2,980, down from 3,172 last year.

Area 3 also recorded the most robberies last year, 806, compared with 651 in neighboring Area 4 and 586 in deep East Oakland.

Area 3 robberies occur most often in the area from Fourth Avenue to 15th Avenue, Foothill Boulevard up to Interstate 580 and from Foothill to 21st Street going south to 22nd Avenue.

Victims, the report said, are typically preoccupied, often walking on the street or leaving a car, and are Asian, Latino or white, with thieves more likely to pull weapons if their target is male.

Peak hours for robberies in Areas 3 and 4 are from 5 to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday in Area 2, Friday and Saturday in Area 3.

(Chicago recently introduced ShotSpotter which can now hone in on the location of gunfire while simultaneously a second computer system turns on the largest network of surveillance cameras in the country to help locate and search for suspects and victims. Courtesy of ShotSpotter and YouTube)

In Area 1, where there were 542 robberies in 2016, they occurred most often around the West Oakland BART station, downtown bus stops and at the border of Chinatown along Alice and Harrison streets, police said.

Heightened robbery activity also was reported around BART stations in Area 4: the Coliseum and Fruitvale stations.

Assaults involving a firearm were down by one for the year in Area 5, and down by 10 citywide, with totals of 139 and 331, respectively, the report found.

Police also reported on continued intervention efforts against human trafficking. In the fourth quarter of 2016, 12 of the year’s 51 operations were conducted, and 127 of the year’s 640 arrests made.

Of those arrested, the overwhelming majority were adult women: 101 of the quarter’s 127 arrests and 433 of the year’s 640. There were 18 arrests of adult males in the year’s final quarter, to bring the total to 162.

Forty-seven of the year’s arrests, including six in the fourth quarter, were juveniles.

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One arrest in October and another in November were added to the 25 alleged pimps arrested earlier in the year.

The reports are scheduled to be presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the Public Safety Committee.

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