Oakland's over-the-top homicide rate is only the most obvious problem when it comes to the city's explosion in crime, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Although killings are tragic and make the news - and Oakland has already exceeded its total for all of last year - many more residents are falling victim to auto and home burglaries. Those are up a stunning 43 percent from last year. "It's horrendous," says City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan, chair of the public safety committee.
She suspects there's a direct correlation between the crime spike and the city's steady loss of police officers in recent years. "That's the issue we all should be focusing on," Kernighan said. If the problem is a shortage of patrol cops, things are going to get worse. Oakland will be down to 605 cops by February - 200 fewer than the city had in 2008. Another 40 will graduate from the Police Academy soon thereafter, but they'll be raw rookies.