The Oakland mayor and police department announced new initiatives Tuesday with the goal of making the city safer.
Police officers will soon be out of their cars and back on foot, walking the streets of the city’s business and shopping districts.
“Under this administration we are going to be proactive and put the safety and the feeling of safety and not just that but ensuring that small businesses are supported,” said Mayor Sheng Thao.
She, and Acting Police Chief Darren Allen announced plans to bring back walking officers after a two year hiatus.
The unit of six officers and a sergeant will start patrolling areas, including the downtown corridor during the daytime next week.
“Obviously, we can’t cover all districts. There will be multiple locations that a single officer will have to cover their shift,” said Allison. “As we grow the department and our foot patrol unit will have great expanse they will cover the neighborhood.”
According to Chief Allison, shootings, homicides and burglaries are all down by 10% or more compared to the same time last year.
Alicia Kidd owns Coco Noir Wine Shop on 13th street. She said the walking patrols back on the street is a critical step, but also says simply patrolling during the week on business hours is not enough.
“It is going to be more effective if the police officers partner with the ambassadors and also expand the hours make it longer on weekends as well,” said Kidd.
She said she takes all the precautions possible, even running a no-cash business. But after the owner of Angel Cakes Bakery was killed during a smash-and-grab last week, she believes OPD needs to work closer with businesses.
“We don’t feel protected right now but I think going forward there needs to be engagement between the ambassadors, the business districts and the police departments,” said Kidd.
The mayor also noted that creating a safer Oakland won’t happen overnight and says it will take a regional approach to truly keep the city safe.
“I want to make clear that while our public safety officers are instrumental in this effort, we all know a safer Oakland is going to require participation from our violence prevention organizations, community leaders, regional partners,” said Thao.
Source: NBC Bay Area