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.

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“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."

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

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