Homicide Crackdown

New program to thwart gun crime

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced a new program Friday to crack down on homicides and other gun-related crimes.

So far this year, there have been 34 homicides—a 230% increase over the same time last year, when 10 people were killed in Oakland.

“It hurts my heart when I arrive at a homicide scene and I hear the screams of grief from the family and see the tears rolling down their faces after losing a loved one,” said Armstrong in a statement.

In response to the increase in crime, Armstrong created the Violent Crime Operations Center to provide a timely response to homicides, all gun-related crimes and to support the department’s Ceasefire strategy. Since the implementation of the program, officers have made several key arrests of homicide suspects and recovered numerous firearms, a police spokesman said.

The department also continues to partner with Oakland pastors in monthly community prayer vigils. Last Sunday, Bishop Bob Jackson, of Acts Full Gospel Church, led a vigil to end violence in Oakland. More than 100 people attended the event at Verdese Carter Park.

Armstrong is also cracking down on violent and dangerous illegal sideshows by putting more officers on the street in sideshow hot spots. Police said officers focus on deterring, enforcing and responding to the illegal activity.

Because of these efforts, nearly 20 vehicles have been towed, 11 people arrested and two firearms recovered during recent sideshows, a police spokesman said.

Mills Faculty Seeks Answers

A group of angry Mills College faculty members on Saturday called on the college board to engage faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in further discussions about the future of the private women’s college.

Last month, the 170-year-old college announced it would not enroll new students anymore and is closing all academic programs in 2023. The college said declining enrollment and financial troubles were to blame for the decision.

At that time, the college announced it was creating the Mills Institute to promote women’s leadership. But some faculty members said the institute was created “without any meaningful faculty input” and has left out students, “who are the very reason for the existence of the college.”

Additionally, faculty members said they are troubled that the decision to close the college was made without providing any information about the possibility of future employment opportunities or severance packages for Mills faculty and staff.

Their statement read, in part, “The failure to thoroughly consider the impacts of this decision on those most affected is a profound disrespect to our community.’’

Vice President Harris To Visit Oakland

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Oakland Monday and discussed topics including water infrastructure and small business.

This was Harris’ first visit to Oakland since she became vice president. Harris is a native of Oakland and spent several years of her childhood in Berkeley.

No other details about the visit were released.

She’s presently in Chicago to address vaccine equity.

Bay City News

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