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The Oakland Police Department had a rocky start in 2013.

Crime was up, staffing was down and citizens were still at odds with local officers due to events that took place during the Occupy protest movement.

Elected officials hired outside consultants in hopes of finding a way to overhaul police department operations, and from there, they re-opened the long-closed police academy.

The Chief of Police stepped away from his position a few short weeks later, and a temporary-leader stepped up to fill the role.  Sources within the Oakland PD point out this man was the fourth person to serve in this position in as many years.

But a lot has changed in the past 12 months.

Homicides are down about 30 percent, say officers, and are at the lowest rate they've been in more than a decade.  Residential burglaries and shootings are also down, which is a clear-cut sign that changes within the Oakland Police Department are working.

Crime is still very high, they said, but the overall landscape has changed for he better.

A noticeable drop in shootings and homicides started to emerge a few months ago, said Interim Police Chief Sean Whent, although the reasons for this are still unclear.  Some think it might be tied to a crackdown on local gangs.

Others say it's due to the Ceasefire program, in which violent gang offenders are called to meet with clergymen and civic leaders and given an ultimatum:  clean up your act and let us help you rehabilitate, or else.

Another big change that's happened in the past 12 months relates to districting.  Today, the department has reportedly been split into five unique district, each of which is led by a captain that's charged with paying close attention to crime trends.

Officers say it's not 100 percent smooth sailing at this point, but things are definitely moving in the right direction.