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Oakland Backs Down On Crime War Figures

Publication Date: 
January 15, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Demian Bulwa

Professor Robert Weisberg spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle's Demian Bulwa regarding a statement made by the Oakland Police Chief on crime stats which Weisberg claims must have been "a mistake or just hyperbole." 

Oakland police retreated Tuesday from Chief Howard Jordan's statement that almost all of the violent crime in the city in recent months is linked to a war between two groups that exploded after the killing of a 16-year-old girl last summer.

"These are two groups that are involved in about 90 percent of the violence in Oakland," Jordan said at a press conference Monday, three days after four people were shot to death in the city in a matter of hours.


Robert Weisberg, a Stanford law professor who co-directs the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, said it was clear Jordan's statement was "either a mistake or just hyperbole. He couldn't possibly have meant that."

Weisberg said it was plausible that a drastic, short-term spike in killings could be explained by a specific social situation such as a gang dispute.

"But 90 percent seems clearly hyperbolic," Weisberg said. "It's unfortunate he used those hyperbolic numbers, because it may serve to mask a legitimate explanation of a very, very drastic bunching of murders."