A story about Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's 100 Block plan incorrectly reported that 58 percent of homicides and 42 percent of shootings occurred in nine of the city's 35 police beats. They occurred in nine of Oakland's 57 community policing beats.
OAKLAND -- Mayor Jean Quan's top aide admitted Wednesday that Oakland's violent crime epidemic stretches well beyond 100 blocks and the key statistic used to sell the mayor's signature anti-crime program was grossly inflated.
The admission comes one week after a research group challenged a central premise of Quan's 100 Blocks crime-fighting program -- that 90 percent of Oakland homicides and shootings occur in just 100 blocks.
Quan repeated that figure in numerous public appearances, and her office plastered it on promotional pieces about her program to reduce crime citywide by flooding those 100 blocks with police and social services.
After a recent study showed that violent crime in the city is far more dispersed, the mayor's office disavowed it.
The correct data, Quan's Chief of Staff Anne Campbell Washington said, is during the past two years, 58 percent of Oakland's homicides and 42 percent of shootings occurred in nine of Oakland's 35 police beats. Those nine beats, which span well over 100 blocks, contain 10 high-crime neighborhoods that Campbell Washington said are the true focus of the mayor's plan.
"I don't know where the 90 percent number came from," said Campbell Washington, who joined Quan's staff after the release of the 100 Blocks plan. She said the mayor only learned the figure was incorrect last week after her staff dealt with media inquiries following a critical report of the plan by Urban Strategies Group.
The nonprofit research outfit reviewed the past five years of police data and found that only 20 percent of homicides and shootings last year had occurred within Oakland's most violent blocks. During those same five years, 90 percent of Oakland's shootings and homicides did not occur in 100 blocks, but in 1,303 blocks -- nearly 20 percent of the entire city.
The findings undermined Quan's assertion that the shootings and homicides plaguing Oakland were extraordinarily concentrated in just 5 percent of the city and that a concentrated police effort in those blocks could make the entire city safer.
The new statistics showing that violent crime in Oakland is far more widespread casts doubt on the potential effectiveness of the plan's reliance on hot spot policing, according to the mayor's critics.
"One reason why crime is spreading to some areas is we have concentrated resources in the 100 blocks," Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said. "The mayor has to admit that the strategy has not worked and change it."
Quan was attending a conference in Brazil Wednesday and was unavailable for comment.
The mayor unveiled the crime-fighting program last October at a point when violent crime was on the rise, and police were still coping with the layoffs of 80 officers the previous year.
Quan credited "100 Block strategies" when crime dipped late last year, but when crime shot up again this year, she said the 100 Blocks plan was just one component of a comprehensive crime-fighting strategy.
The plan has long invited skeptics because Quan refused to reveal the 100 blocks or the methodology that went into determining them, citing first the need not to stigmatize the residents and then a request from federal law enforcement officers working with Oakland police.
Although the 90 percent figure was inaccurate, Campbell Washington said the mayor deserved credit for focusing attention on some of Oakland's historically violent neighborhoods and helping set the stage for outside law enforcement agencies to help fight crime in Oakland.
"The bottom line is if you're trying to reverse a long-standing trend, you have to focus your efforts somewhere," she said. "It's very possible to stretch your resources so thin, you become ineffective."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6345.