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Witnesses Urged To Come Forward To Quell Soaring Oakland Violence

OAKLAND (KCBS) - The head of the Oakland City Council is asking for help from the community following the murders of seven people over the past week.

"Family who have lost loved ones to the violence in the streets of Oakland," said City Council President Larry Reid, "they've got to come forward."

Most of the homicides since July 7, including Thursday's slaying of a 19-year-old woman inside the Starlite Motel on MacArthur Boulevard, have taken place in the East Oakland district that Reid represents.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

Silence is what makes it possible for those who commit murder to remain on the street and engage in other types of violent crime, Reid said.

There have been 63 homicides in Oakland so far this year, and the past week has become the worst episode of sustained violence since 2007.

Reid praised the recent joint operations with federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI, while stressing that the city needed longer term solutions.

"Even though we've been having these joint efforts between the DEA, the FBI and ATF, they can't spend a whole year here in Oakland. They can sustain a 90-day operation, a 120-day operation."

"We need their help in this city 365 days taking those bad people off our streets and taking as many guns off the streets," Reid said.

The city's troubles are compounded by having only about 280 police officers on patrol, Reid said.

With the most recent wave of violence, he is not optimistic that Oakland can end the year with fewer than the 103 murders recorded in 2011.

"I wish I had the answer to how we go about stopping the senseless violence that's devastating communities, but more important, devastating lives," Reid said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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