So I imagine that as a public official, it must be nearly impossible to come up with something good to tell a reporter when asked to comment on a report rating Oakland the 4th most dangerous city in the US. I can’t imagine what my response would be. But in today’s Trib, Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker provides us with a near-perfect example of what you shouldn’t say:
In Oakland, police Chief Wayne Tucker said people might be misled by the report.
“The department is always interested in how we’re being rated,” he said, “but I think a rating can be very deceptive.”
He said being ranked fourth on the list of dangerous cities could easily lead people to believe the whole city is under siege from crime. Tucker said the reality is that crime is concentrated in “two reasonably small areas” in East and West Oakland.
Okay, there are two things very, very wrong with that statement.
First, I have a hard time thinking of a less thinly veiled way to say “Relax. All the crime happens to poor black people.” The implications of his statement are nauseating. Come on. If the reality is that “two reasonably small areas” in East and West Oakland are “under seige from crime,” then the City and the Police Department have a responsibility to deal with that. Everyone deserves safety.
Second, he’s just plain wrong. Below is a map of where every murder in Oakland in 2007 happened. They’re all over the place. We’re not talking about a “reasonably small” area or even a sort-of small area. The small size of the map might make it kind of hard to read on the blog (although you can zoom in), so if you want to view it larger on Google Maps, here’s the link.
View Larger Map
And this is just murders. It doesn’t cover the proliferation of auto theft, burglary, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and burglary. More evidence that the Oakland Police Department administration is completely out of touch.