Oakland’s Gun Problem: 11 Firearm Crimes a Day

Oakland has a gun problem.

In 2012 alone, 2,091 armed robberies and 783 shootings were reported. Shootings accounted for the vast majority of the city’s 131 homicides. Add to that illegal gun possession and other related crimes, and Oakland police recorded an average of 11 gun-related crime reports per day for the year, according to a KQED analysis of data from the Oakland Police Department.

Click on each dot to see the date and time, case number, short description and address associated with each case. Click and drag to move the map. You can zoom in by double clicking or clicking on the plus sign in the map.

Click on each dot to see the date and time, case number, short description and address associated with each case. Click and drag to move the map. You can zoom in by double clicking or clicking on the plus sign in the map.

True Vine Ministries pastor Zachary Carey says Oakland residents are living in a war zone, and he disputes the notion that most of those dying on the city’s streets have some tie to gangs.

“When you hear about violence in America on the news, the tagline associated with it is gang-related,” Carey told KQED’s Mina Kim during a rally to bring attention to recent homicides. “But the reality is, people that are being murdered now are not gang-related, they’re innocent bystanders.”

Tracking the Violence

Official FBI crime data shows Oakland had more homicides, robberies and other violent crimes during the first half of 2012 than San Francisco and San Jose–cities with more than double the population of Oakland.  FBI crime data, the city’s only “official” record, according to Oakland Police Chief of Staff Sgt. Christopher Bolton, does not specifically document gun-related crimes or include addresses where crimes occurred.

Bolton says the city’s public crime data is sometimes unreliable. “One of our challenges is easily and accurately reporting statistics,” Bolton said. “It should be easy for someone to obtain data for crimes that happen close to them.”

The department is currently updating its case management system and hopes to put more accurate crime data online soon, Bolton said.

In the meantime, digging into the Oakland Police Department database, KQED created this map of crime reports during the last five years.

How to Use the Map

When a police officer responds to a crime, and sometimes when a 911 operator takes a crime-related call, they file a report. The map draws from a raw database of crimes from those reports. KQED  filtered for violations involving firearms, ammunition, shootings, armed robberies and homicides. These reports do not indicate whether any charges were brought for the crime.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Each dot on the map represents one case, although each case may consist of several crimes. For instance, a convicted felon with a firearm who committed an armed robbery could involve two reported crimes – one for illegal possession of a firearm and another for robbery with a firearm.

This map doesn’t represent all of Oakland’s gun-related homicides in 2012 because of how the Oakland Police Department filed its cases. (Some gun-related crimes are classified as simply “homicides,” and thus do not show up in the data.)

Some cases also have what may appear to be contradictory or redundant charges. A single case may involve a violation listed as “shoot at unoccupied dwelling/vehicle/etc” and a separate listing of “shoot at an occupied dwelling/vehicle/etc” for the same case. In an email response to a KQED query about such case reports, the Oakland Police Department wrote that “these are all valid, and accurately categorized because of the nature of incident. Each incident requires careful review of the Narrative to better understand the whole picture.”

Cases with “amended” or “SC” mean that someone filed a supplemental report after the initial report was filed.

Related

  • Tivon

    As a resident, it makes me sick to my stomach looking at that map.

  • ALEXANDEROAKLAND

    AS A LONG TIME RESIDENT OF OAKLAND, THE MAP SHOWS SOME VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN OAKLAND

  • Sean

    Why have police numbers on Oakland been allowed to fall over recent years?
    Absolutely disgusting and terrible mismanagement on the city’s part

    This needs to be fixed immediately

    I’m a new resident in Oakland and this data does not make me feel safe at all

    • Tyrone

      Why are you even living in Oakland

  • Schildkröte

    I don’t get it. California has such strict gun laws. Why are people not obeying these laws? We need more gun laws to stop these things from happening.

    • Quen047

      I don’t get it either. How does one manage to get a gun across heavily-guarded state lines through California state customs? Oh wait, maybe it’s because there is no such thing and any idiot could smuggle guns from Nevada or Arizona to California. Gun laws at the state and local level don’t work. They have to be federal.

      • Schildkröte

        We should make guns illegal in the US then. That will solve this entire issue.

        • Quen047

          I have no beef with hunting weapons. But guns designed to kill human beings? Yes, I agree. I’ve lived in Spain and New Zealand where that is the case and it’s pretty amazing to have the freedom to know you won’t be shot if you walk in down the wrong street at night.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665213541 Stephen Fortner

            Unless you get uppity and protest the government too loudly. Then the special security forces show up, toting the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that you feel OH so safe for not being allowed to own yourself. Having seen first-hand the Syria-style brutalization of Occupy Oakland by the OPD, it amazes me that any citizen who values their rights and freedom would want law enforcement to be able to have weapons that an ordinary, non-felon, mentally healthy citizen is banned from owning. It amazes me that the same people who protest the police murders of Oscar Grant and Alan Blueford then say “Where are the police?” when a moment arrives where the gangster is the more immediate threat. Oh, and I’m a liberal. I’m just not a pu**y.

          • SF2OAK

            “Syria style brutalization…” Let’s not be over dramatic- in the real Syria there has been an estimated 50,000-63,000 deaths. how in the world is what OPD does “Syria Style? And fwiw I don’t think the same people who are protesting actions involving Oscar “the saint” Grant (BART Police) and Alan “Run ‘n Gun” Blueford are actually calling for more police- It is my belief they are different people.

          • Fact guy

            I lived in New Zealand they out number us in deaths in deaths with hands and feet… Also highest next to britton in knife attacks.. Over 5 a day

          • Quen047

            Far, far fewer murders are committed in the whole of New Zealand every year than are committed in most larger American cities. Get real, the US is waaaaay more dangerous than NZ.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

            I think you’re referring to “Britain”.

        • YehudaCohen
      • Ran Den

        Stricter gun laws yet it’s not working? Hmmm sounds like something is wrong with that I mean criminals follow the laws too right?

  • Entropy

    Quick….let’s write some laws to disarm the non-criminals so that the poor, disadvantaged killers don’t get hurt.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

      Quick, let’s create a nonexistent straw man so you can justify collateral damage because you want to have a gun.

      Truth is these laws get guns off the streets. But because people like you want us to be awash in guns, there’s a lot of them to get out of there.

      • Ran Den

        The truth is that in place’s with the hardest gun laws, Chicago DC , Mexico and England criminals don’t have to worry about the average citizen. The truth is that these laws don’t get guns off the streets. Did prohibition work or did it make things worse.

      • Entropy

        No…the truth is these laws *don’t* “get these guns off the streets” because criminals will get whatever tools they need to commit crims no matter the laws. If gun laws kept “guns off the street”, places like Chicago wouldn’t have 500 murders committed with them, now would they?
        By the way it’s not “want to have a gun”, it’s “have a *right* to have a gun”

        • Jake Wegmann

          Entropy, do you not understand the concept that it’s useless to have gun control in jurisdictions like Chicago if gun dealers can just go buy from gun shops or gun shows in close-by places, like Indiana (which touches Chicago), and then resell them to thugs? Gun control in the US doesn’t work because it’s never been tried. Oh, and Ran Den — for your next homework assignment, check out the gun murder rates in the UK. I’ll give you a hint — they are a minuscule fraction of what they are here in good ‘ol America.

          • Entropy

            Right….we need to ban guns on a Federal level to make sure that criminals in Chicago can’t buy guns. ‘Cause if they’re illegal in the neighboring states, the Chicago crims won’t be able to get them. Which is why I can’t go to any major city in the United States and buy cocaine or heroin. Apparently, when you make something illegal, it all magically disappears….

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

            You mean like automatic weapons? We banned those, and those are so easy to get now, aren’t they?

          • Entropy

            Actually, they’re not that hard to get at all, they’re just so expensive that most street criminals can’t afford them and wouldn’t bother if they could

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

      Better yet, let’s haul you down to West Oakland, remove all gun laws and then you can watch for yourself to see what happens.

      • Jsin

        Get a grip joe. You and everyone else that thinks this is a gun problem. 1. This is a criminal problem, mismanagement of city revenue problem, disproportionate disbursement of wealth and education problem. Whatever laws you pass federal or otherwise will NOT stop criminals from committing crime and killing people. You just dont get it. A pistol at least evens the odds for the innocent. 2. You and all your ANTI gun nut friends trust the cops and the military with firearms right? So what test do they take to get this trust? What oath or pledge do they take? What is it that makes one group of humans trust worthy to carry firearms and not another group? And by the way cops and military have also been murderers. How about we take you down to west Oakland right now and leave you there and see what your gun laws have done to protect you? Tell you what ill go with you and bring my pistol… Lets see who gets home unharmed… When was the last time you dialed 911 in west Oakland? What was the response time if they even responded.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

          I’m not anti-gun. I’m against gun violence. It doesn’t make me anti-gun anymore than being against drunk driving makes me anti-car.

      • Entropy

        I drove through a burning city during L.A.’s 1992 riots. I’m pretty sure I could survive your little socialist paradise by the Bay. What I suspect would happen is business as usual…because the people who are killing other people there…..they don’t give a damn about laws against murder, so I’m guessing they aren’t losing sleep over violating existing gun laws.

      • Truth guy

        Trust… I did exactly that.. I west Oakland… Lowered crime to lowest point since 1943… You brought on the reforms and NSA… People like you are clueless about what it takes to make thing safe.

  • YehudaCohen
  • Ran Den

    So they want us to give up ar arms so we can be victimized even more from people who don’t follow laws to begin with?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665213541 Stephen Fortner

    Typical of the mainstream media to call this a “gun problem” when, in fact, it’s a CRIME problem. My home state of Vermont has one of the lowest (and in many years, THE lowest) violent crime rates in the nation, but also one of the highest levels of gun ownership (including handguns) and the least restrictive gun laws. How about we give CRIMINALS a “gun problem”? As in, mess with a law-abiding citizen who’s otherwise minding their own business, and your punk ass will get shot! Of course, this requires that the average law-abiding citizen grow a pair and be willing to defend themselves, AND that the nanny state not interfere with our access to firepower and magazine capacity that’s sufficient to do so. That’s how we roll in Vermont. And lest my affinity for guns brand me as a Tea Party type or right-wing nutjob here in the Bay area, I happen to lean very liberal about nearly all other issues.

    • Paul

      Hey there Stephen – so, to be clear, do you actually think a comparison between Vermont and Oakland is an appropriate one to make here?

    • Travis

      where in Oakland do you live, where you think your policy of “growing a pair” will protect you from all the violent crime in this city you are a resident of??

  • http://twitter.com/GonzOakland GönzÖakland

    KQED took OPD’s semi-reliable database and dumped it into a google map. This doesn’t take a lot of time, and it doesn’t produce a very informative interface.

    If OPD’s data, including homicide data, is not totally reliable, why is the press not picking up the slack? A simple LexisNexus search from last year would’ve provided every homicide reported in the press, along with what block each one happened on.

    This is also a one time article, and a one time map. For a daily updated map of Oakland homicides, shootings that injure people, and shootings that attempt to injure people, check out the links below:

    http://www.shineinpeace.com

    http://www.twitter.com/shine_in_peace

    http://www.facebook.com/ShineinPeace

  • Nakita

    Why people are against gun control is beyond me. We need to start somewhere.

    Why people are against Bratton coming in amazes me…..we need someone that knows how to police and lead the department. Fire Jordan and take his salary and bring in more police on the streets.

    If parents continue to have children they are unwilling to discipline, parent and control we need to allow the authorities to do so; schools, police, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/UsMcBaldie247 UsMc Angelito Pelonsito

    that’s right those of u that are anti-gun wait until these criminals invade ur
    life… let’s c how anti-gun u will be. Remember registered gun owners
    aren’t the problem… it’s the criminals w/guns…. NOTE TO senator & congress:
    why don’t u give up ur concealed weapons & go around w/out our tax paid security

  • http://twitter.com/cochisewolf Cochise Wolf

    Most of these are gang related. I’ve been here 13 years, have not been the recipient of any violence even when I was the only white guy in the neighborhood. I really like this town, the diversification, the art, the friendly people.

    Maybe we should be asking why these kids are shooting each other. Why are their under paid school teachers having to buy pencils with their own money. Where is their opportunity? Sure, exceptional kids can get out, what about the ‘average’ kids? Gangs offer them respect, recognition, and opportunity. Why aren’t we offering them respect, recognition, and opportunity.?

    More jails, more cops. Hasn’t worked in the past, let’s try something else. I don’t have the answers but I think this needs to be viewed in a different way. Kids going to school hungry, in 50 pupil classes, afraid of the bully on the corner. Was that how it was for you in grade school. Best ad I’ve seen on TV about drugs: “Just say no!? Some of these kids don’t take ‘no’ for an answer!”

    These are kids man! They need mentors, viable options, to be rescued from abusive environments. Let’s put a little more money into the churches, the social centers, the organizations that care and maybe a little less money into the yuppie thrills that just make money for those who already have too much #$%#$ money …

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651502826 Joe Carlin

      Education is the best form of gun control.

Author

Lisa Pickoff-White

Lisa Pickoff-White is KQED's Senior Interactive News Producer. Her work has been honored with awards from the Online News Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and SXSW Interactive. Lisa specializes in visual journalism, including photography and data. @pickoffwhite

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