Oakland

Timelines: 2012-2020, 2023-Present

In 2011, at the request of then Mayor Jean Quan, the Police Chief and local community organizers from Faith in Action, CPSC supported a diverse city and community partnership over the next eight years to design, implement and evaluate the Oakland Ceasefire strategy.  The Oakland strategy broke new ground in the scale of its impact, sustainability, community legitimacy and the large-scale institutional changes we were able to engineer in partnership with City and community leaders. Oakland’s pathway to violence reduction was rooted in procedural justice work, partnership with community leaders, and data-driven performance management.  

The Results:  A rigorous quasi-experimental evaluation of our work in Oakland by Northeastern University found that it:

  • Was the primary driver of an over 50% reduction in shootings and homicides citywide from 2012-2019.
  • Produced the longest sustained reduction in homicides in 50 years
  • Reduced gang-involved shootings by 43%.
  • Reduced shootings specifically within and between high-risk social networks and in highest-violence census tracts relative to comparison groups.

Click to read the “OAKLAND CEASEFIRE EVALUATION” report.

In 2023, at the request of newly elected Mayor Sheng Thao, CPSC re-engaged with the City of Oakland to conduct an assessment of the city’s violence reduction efforts since 2020.     

The COVID-19 pandemic, fundamentally altering community life, imposed severe restrictions on face-to-face violence prevention work. Oakland, like most major American cities, experienced double-digit increases in violence, driven by complex factors still under analysis.

Since the pandemic, Oakland faced a persistent high murder rate, returning to levels not seen since the early 2010s by the end of 2021. The long-term sustainability of violence reduction efforts is a formidable challenge. 

How could a national success story that seemingly overcame so many challenges so quickly become overtaken by violence again? Our audit grappled with these tough questions, and our recommendations carve a path forward for the City of Oakland, aiming to restore its status as a national model for violence prevention.

Read the Oakland Audit executive summary findings here

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