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Oakland police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and the leader of the city’s violence prevention department headlined a gathering of city and community leaders at Lake Merritt this past weekend to decry rising violence and remember the city’s many recent homicide victims.
The “Stand Up for a Safe Oakland” rally took place at noon Saturday at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater.
“Stop killing our kids!” chanted the crowd of a couple hundred as a speaker exhorted them to take the anti-violence message back to their neighborhoods.
Oakland police said there have been 71 homicides so far in 2021. There were 85 homicides in all of 2020 and 68 in 2018, the lowest annual figure since 1999, according to a city report. At that time, the city credited a sustained collaboration by police, city and community leaders for the decrease.
Oakland’s all-time high for homicide came in 1992, with 175, but the average number of homicides each year from 1984 to 1995 was 133, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report.
If homicide were to continue at the current average rate for the rest of 2021, there could be 135 killings by the end of December.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report shows Oakland, with a population of 434,036, had 5,520 violent crimes in 2019, up slightly from previous years.