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Mayor Quan Speaks Out Against Youth Curfews, Gang Injunctions in Oakland

 

OAKLAND -- Oakland Mayor Jean Quan spoke out Thursday against crime-fighting proposals suggested by Police Chief Anthony Batts and city council members Larry Reid and Ignacio De La Fuente.

Batts has long favored imposing curfews for teenagers and injunctions against gangs and Reid and De La Fuente have also strongly supported those measures in the wake of a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland on Aug. 8.

But Quan said today that she does not think a youth curfew would be an effective crime-fighting tool, as the two suspects in the fatal shooting of Carlos are both in their 20s and the suspects in other recent homicides in the city also are over the age of 18.

Quan said she favors a loitering ordinance instead of a youth curfew, saying she thinks there would be fewer civil rights issues with such an ordinance.

The mayor also said she does not support injunctions against gangs, saying she prefers injunctions against individuals who are deemed to be dangerous instead of injunctions against large groups of people.

Oakland won an injunction against the Norteno gang in the city's Fruitvale District in June and won an injunction against the North Side Oakland gang last year.

When the City Council meets again in September, Reid and De La Fuente will ask the council to support seeking injunctions against gangs in other parts of the city as well.

Quan said she believes having more police officers in Oakland's high-crime areas is more effective than gang injunctions and youth curfews. Oakland's budget shortfall prompted the City Council to lay off 80 police officers last year. Quan said 38 of those officers have now been re-hired, 10 earlier this year and 28 more in recent weeks.

Quan said the additional officers are allowing the Police Department to focus on the eight beats in East Oakland where 92 percent of the violent crime in the city occurs.

Quan said there is "preliminary evidence" that the increased patrols in that area are starting to work, as the number of shootings has decreased in some neighborhoods but admitted it is too early to tell for certain.

Batts said Oakland has had 71 homicides so far this year, a 27 percent increase over the number of homicides at this time last year. He also said there are 33 percent more shootings in the city compared to the same time a year ago.

He said, "We need to move beyond rhetoric and take hard stances" in order to fight crime.

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