Violent crime rises as communities try to reimagine policing

ABC News’ Pierre Thomas examines the rise in violence in cities across the country, and how Oakland, California, is balancing calls for police reform with trying to increase public safety.
8:57 | 05/06/21

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Transcript for Violent crime rises as communities try to reimagine policing
Ounce of our series on policing in America and the troubling rise in violent crimes in cities across the country in the years since the pandemic that rise in violence comes donation takes a renewed look at the role of police in communities. So tonight take a closer look at one community in particular Oakland California and the varying opinions they are on how to get the violence under control amid calls for re imagining policing. Here's ABC's Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. Held. Clinton homicides has now topped 100 for the first time in seven years. Oakland California like many cities across US. Facing a disturbing surge in gun violence. I don't feel safe and I don't feel like my kids will be staying. Violent crime in Oakland this up 14% from twenty joining us surge is also being seen in cities across the country. Homicides in Los Angeles Philadelphia and Washington DC. More than 30% compared to the same time last year. The very moment when violent crime is spiking and Oakland and other places. Mistrust of police in some minority communities on the wrong. Following the aftermath of George Lewis murder at the hands of police officer Derek show but. And the murder yes. I don't think there's any question. That this past year has challenged police in ways that they never have from Colbert nineteen. To the George Floyd tragedy. To the demonstrations. That occurred. And then all of this time violent crime has been spiking. In ways we haven't seen in ten in twenty years all across the country. Black folks brown folks indigenous folks in queer folks our relationship with copd is contentious at best policing has never worked for black people in this country. I'm and it's not broken and so we can't fix it. Brooks is the community activist and organizer who has lived in Oakland for over twelve years. We gave birth to. The. That movement to shift funds away from policing gaining traction. Oakland pledging to cut police funding and direct more resources to community services. Even would violence on the rocks but Oakland's police chief who run Armstrong is convinced. Police are needed now more than ever. 200. Yards last year. So I. Even so chief arms shortly admits there's a trust deficit early to mistakes by police. And bias in policing and the criminal justice system. The reality. Communion he. That. The least amount of law or in need leash response the most. It's about when we have an incident do we make sure. That we. Green in community early on allowed him to seem. Our intuitive knowledge when all Nate. Egregious mistake. They are going to handle. Oddity going to be so we know. Some data appears to suggest that police are paying more attention to African Americans than their white counterparts. And not all of it can be explained by crime patterns were so called high crime neighborhood. In a review of arrests and traffic stop data. ABC news finding in Oakland that in when he eighteen blacks were three times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts. 120 Tony study of arrest statistics by ABC news finding that black men were eight times more likely to be stopped by Oakland police and then white men whose national law enforcement experts we spoke to say. These are issues apartments are grappling with the nationwide. How do you root out those. Issues I think. Police chiefs are taking a hard look at how they police and some of those areas of the city and asking are we making ourselves look bad. Fights indiscriminately stopping people for minor things. We created a concept. Or leasing. Many officers actually to be more focused and make sure that this stuff and we're making some association. A criminal act team. How do you scream people who might. Look at a black man and see a suspect person since the site. We have provided. Training on endless biased we. Training all I'm not procedural justice and police legitimate seat. But now we're instituted all little secret policy that it marginal strings. He beginning. Mistrust so high in the city's. For the national discussion has been sparked about redirecting money from least to people. And agencies that can deal with the problems head on most of what I hear. Is that deep emphasis. Should be on communities having the resources to keep themselves safe. And that we have defund did yeah students. Housing. Health care in so many of these vulnerable community means. All that we funded now that's easy apparatus for punishment but making communities safer and robust is complicated at best. He's Oakland resident PC vendors and still believes that police are part of the solution. I was say we can't play politics and public safety we cannot reduce the amount of officers on you know on foot or in a community. Just sit acknowledges a sound progress of this he believes that improving the crime situation in Oakland. Has to be a collaborative effort I never felt safe living in this community I am not a part that they be fun the police will win. Com I am more about bringing everybody to the table. In bringing some type of Dallas an accountability that is just where I stand. But sealed the sizes and community needs proper investment. Along side better policing. This type of illness his weight creates crying when makes crime comfortable. If we can teens who have. All of this type of trash and things that is going on. Right around the corner of other activists believed. They can help prevent the violence by providing care to their fellow navy. Would eliminate the need for police and in the way you did exist if we put the same amount of funding. Into the community in true afterschool programs invest in children investing community spirit. So often folks are upset when folks say dethrone but where else would the funds come from. To get it done when the majority of the resource is going to police it. Disease complicated issues are being addressed in Oakland in cities from coast to coast the question of how the move forward remains unclear. How do we moved from re imagining two redesigning. Reconstructing. She's really what we're asking for right now as a country but got no one is the expert cause we haven't done this before. It's gonna take all of our resource is to support process he's we have never tried before and it's why so many folks. I'm trying so many different things. I hope we create space for them to fail. Without giving up. In Oakland all eyes are on the mayor and City Council to work toward a final budget in June and upcoming fiscal year. So much is stake with so many and often start points of view. I would like this to see us get out of this pattern of responding to the violence and acts the inter corrupting balanced and that means investments on the front end. And mental health into comet in jobs education housing. That that that's the end it's it's logical it's right in front of us. But even with deep differences of opinion one fact does appear more clear the status quo the way open and the nation have addressed crime race and policing. Appeared to be on track for some kind of change. You are long 26 year leasing career never. Seen. Face the challenges we're currently space and challenges do you also a tremendous. Need. Resent her car policing practices billions and meaning years. All true community. Should be meeting portray our. Oh immunity it's about policy changes they wanna see where. Elite minority communities are at least. Our they want to make sure. That Ian dirt in barrier to injure. Dangerous time Pierre Thomas ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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