Law enforcement agencies converge in Oakland for two-day Gang Summit

Kristin Bender (Oakland Tribune) | August 23, 2010

OAKLAND — Several agencies are coming together this week to develop a plan to fight gang violence in the city.

The city of Oakland, the Oakland Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies are holding a two-day gang summit in Oakland Tuesday and Wednesday.

The summit comes in the wake of the layoff of 80 police officers and a month after police Chief Anthony Batts pledged to ask for federal help in reducing violent crime in the city.

U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello said he made a similar offer to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums in October 2008 but never heard back until Batts called him earlier this summer.

Oakland police were inspired by the success of the Salinas Police Department’s work with state and federal law enforcement agencies in reducing violent street gangs. In 2008 and 2009, Salinas saw 53 gang-related murders. The city has had four gang-related slayings so far this year.

“Our strategy for reducing violent crime is to have a laser focus on the dangerous gangs who cause the most destruction in our community,” Batts said.

The city has taken other steps to alleviate gangs and gang activity.

In June, a judge ordered an injunction, similar to a restraining order, to disrupt the operations of a violent gang responsible for dozens of shootings and robberies in North Oakland in recent years, according to the city attorney’s office. The injunction came after demands from residents and merchants that the North Side Oakland crime organization was causing severe and increasing violence.

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