Crime is finally on the decline in Oakland, at least for the first two months of 2009, according to a good news piece in today's Chron by columnist Chip Johnson. Homicides declined 50 percent, auto thefts dipped 33 percent, and robberies are down 16 percent. The one piece of bad news is that burglaries are up slightly, as Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente knows, because his Fruitvale house got burglarized yesterday afternoon.
The Oakland cops Johnson talked to credited the crime drop to the department finally being up to full force and changing police strategies. Interestingly, last year's change to geographic policing, which was expected to help lower crime, was not cited. Instead, the cops pointed to more officers being deployed on Thursday through Saturdays, when most crimes occur, and "outreach workers" paid for by Measure Y. Regardless, it's probably a bit premature to tell what has caused the crime decrease, or whether it will last. Still, it's good news.