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Oakland reallocates $10M to police and fire departments as crime rates rise

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    OAKLAND, CA (KGO) — The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to allocate $10 million to restore funding to the city’s police and fire departments.

It comes as the city’s new police chief says they’re facing a big spike in violent crimes this year.

“We need resources,” said Chief LaRonne Armstrong at a press conference Monday. “We need the community’s help to be able to reduce violence. Police can’t do it alone.”

Armstrong said his department is suffering shortages after $25 million was cut from the police budget.

“Those millions of dollars were resources. They were officers,” explained Chief Armstrong.

So far this year, Oakland has reported 41 homicides. This time last year there were 13 – that’s a 215% increase.

Car robberies have also jumped with 149 cases recorded this year, compared to 57 last year.

Chief Armstrong said robberies are up in every district of the city too. Officers have responded to 340 robberies since January.

ABC7 News insider Phil Matier says the crime surge is the reality of measures to reimagine policing.

“What we have is questions about defunding the police and a rise in crime so what we’re seeing is the rhetoric meeting the road,” explained Matier.

Chief Armstrong called Monday’s funding approval an initial step that will help the city take on the rise in violent crimes.

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