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Demise Of Ceasefire Leads To Oakland Gun Violence Spike, Report Finds

Violence in Oakland spiked after a program that was meant to identify people most at risk for being involved in gun violence was abandoned by city leaders, a recent audit found. The audit, by California Partnership for Safe Communities,  found Oakland “significantly watered down” essential elements of the Ceasefire strategy starting in 2016-2017. That trend accelerated in 2019 and 2020 as the city stripped away resources from Ceasefire or focused them on other programs. By 2020 the Ceasefire strategy was no longer having an impact on gun violence in Oakland and the pandemic further scrambled the ability of the police and violence interrupters to make a difference, The Oaklandside reports.

Ceasefire, a national gun violence reduction model, was first launched in Oakland in 2013. focused police and non-police efforts on the small number of people who were most at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence.  A 2019 study credited the program with helping to reduce shootings in Oakland, and the new audit found that over those years, Ceasefire helped prevent roughly 140 people from being killed by guns. But the audit pointed to several issues that lead to the dismantling of Ceasefire, including a scandal in the police department that eroded public trust, and a new Violent Crime Operations Center that focused on solving crimes at the expense of the preventative work Ceasefire was doing.  Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has vowed to bring back Ceasefire. “I’m proud to announce that we are resurrecting the program that was proven successful in saving lives,” Thao said.


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