Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf has promised an 80 percent reduction in crime in Oakland. That's a tall order, but there's almost nowhere to go but up.
According to recently released FBI statistics, Oakland remains the Bay Area’s most dangerous city, with a violent crime rate of 19.77 incidents per 1,000 residents. By comparison, San Francisco’s crime rate was 8.47—itelsf a 20 percent increase from last year’s numbers, but still less than half Oakland's rate. Last year, Oakland faced 90 murders and manslaughters, 180 rapes, 4,922 robberies, and 2,792 aggravated assaults. Though the city's robbery rate is down compared to 2013, its numbers are still way above places like San Francisco or San Jose, despite those city’s greater populations. In response to the news, Schaaf told ABC, "These crime numbers are completely unacceptable" and vowed to improve them.
Concerns about crime—and the city’s response—helped lead to incumbent mayor Jean Quan’s defeat. So has can Schaaf avoid the same fate?
Part of the answer is an increased number of police officers. Schaaf says her final goal is to have 925 officers in total—though she thinks that number will be closer to 800 in the first few years of her term in office. Oakland has struggled with police staffing levels recently, as well as the continuing court-led effort to reform the department following the Riders scandal.
But policing is only half of the answer. Schaaf also campaigned on education and economic policies that she says can address the root causes of crime.
So, 80 percent? Here's hoping.