OAKLAND -- Police Chief Howard Jordan called the city's 100-block crime-fighting initiative a success despite rising crime outside the targeted crime hot spots in East and West Oakland.
"We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. Now we need to adjust," Jordan said during a Tuesday new conference shortly before police unveiled their crime fighting plan to council members.
The 100 Blocks initiative, the mayor's office plan that concentrates law enforcement and social services from multiple agencies on the city's 100 most-violent blocks, has faced criticism in recent weeks because while violent crime is down in those areas, it's up 21 percent citywide.
And top law enforcement officials, including Jordan, have said law enforcement activities in the 100 blocks have moved crimes to other areas.
But Jordan said Tuesday that violent crime has moved only a matter of blocks from hot spots targeted by police and that police operations to root out violent crime in the 100 blocks are not causing the rash of burglaries elsewhere in the city.
"The burglaries that have been taking place ... we don't think those are the same people committing the violent crime," Jordan said.
While Jordan said the 21 percent rise in major crimes was not "alarmingly high," he said the department still had time this year to bring it down.
New police initiatives will include stepped-up crime suppression programs in the Fruitvale district, Jordan said. However, the department remains chronically understaffed, and police response time now averages about 17 minutes -- about 10 minutes longer than comparable cities.
Officials called Tuesday's news conference, which included Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana, to clear up what they said were misconceptions about the 100 Blocks initiative.
While two temporary crime-reduction teams formed last year have comprised the bulk of the police department's contribution to stepped-up crime fighting in the 100 Blocks, they are not part of the initiative, officials said.
Those teams, which were scheduled to be disbanded this week, will instead be disbanded next month, with the 16 officers returning to their prior jobs as problem-solving officers and patrol officers throughout the city, Jordan said.
Quan said the 100 Blocks initiative was still in its infancy and that she had no regrets about focusing resources on Oakland's most-violent neighborhoods.
"I'm tired of us being so predictable," she said. "I'm tired of not doing something different. Maybe I'll fail. But at least I'm trying."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.