Oakland and Alameda County both face challenges and opportunities to make our communities safer and reduce the levels of violence. Three important areas for change include reentry, violence prevention and community policing. With criminal justice realignment under AB109, Alameda County has an important tool for positive change in policy and practice for those involved in the criminal justice system for those involved non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual offenses. The City of Oakland is embarking upon its third try at implementing “ceasefire,” an evidence-based program that has demonstrated results in reducing gun violence in several cities across the nation, but has not gotten traction and impact in Oakland in the prior attempts. Realignment and ceasefire offer opportunities for Oakland and Alameda County to significantly impact the levels of violence and recidivism if we can work together to “get them right.” This blog is created to stimulate conversation and idea about what is happening, and should be happening, to get realignment, ceasefire and other strategies to reduce crime, violence and recidivism and to make our communities safer.

I will be kicking off the blog with some observations and questions about where Alameda County is regarding implementation of AB109. I will be inviting guest bloggers to join the conversation on AB109 and to begin a conversation on Oakland’s implementation of cease fire and on community policing, especially in light of the December 13, 2012 hearing before the federal district court regarding whether the Oakland Police Department should be placed in receivership. If you are interested in contributing to the blog, let me know at juniousw at Urbanstrategies.org.

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