Council members got their first opportunity Tuesday to weigh in on Mayor Jean Quan's 100-Block initiative that concentrates law enforcement and social services on Oakland's most violent streets.
The council didn't try to halt or alter the program, but several council members expressed concerns about the program moving violent crime to other parts of the city and that the police couldn't produce meaningful statistics to measure the program's success.
Councilmember Desley Brooks said the plan was not working well in East Oakland, and Councilmember Larry Reid reiterated his lack of faith in the program, telling Chief Howard Jordan that he was being set up to fail.
Major crimes are up citywide about 20 percent this year, but supporters of the 100 Block plan attribute that to the police department's severe understaffing.
"If it fails, I don't think it will fail because it's a bad idea," Councilmember Pat Kernighan said. "I think it fails because we don't have enough resources."
The 100 Blocks initiative was just one element of the department's crime reduction strategy, which calls for stepped up actions to fight robberies, and using improved intelligence to target specific criminals rather than specific high crime locations.
The department's new measures won't include two crime reduction teams formed last year to fight violent crime in areas that include the 100 Blocks. Those eight-officer teams, which police said had been successful in rooting out crime from established hot spots, are being disbanded later this month with the officers returning to their duties throughout the city. "I made a promise to these communities that we would return the officers to their assigned areas," Jordan said after last week's Public Safety Committee meeting.