Oakland Crime Stats Update, October edition

It’s that time again. Our always exciting monthly check-in on Oakland crime stats.

Overall Part I crimes reported in Oakland continue to be down compared to last year, which is always a good thing. And as it’s getting so late in the year, it’s looking at this point like we will end up meeting the Mayor’s goal of a year-end overall crime reduction of 10%.

You may remember that early this year, reported crimes were down dramatically versus 2008 (26% in February, 22% in March, close to 20% in May). That level of drop didn’t last through the summer, but we did manage to maintain double-digit reductions (16% in June, 13% in July, and 13% in September).

And where are we today? Well, see for yourself:

As always, figures are taken from OPD’s Daily Crime Reports, and the numbers above reflect data as of October 13th (xls).

67 thoughts on “Oakland Crime Stats Update, October edition

  1. Ralph

    Just curious, how do you meet a crime reduction goal when the underlying contributing factors have not changed?

  2. oakie

    I agree, Ralph. All this plus 10-15% variation is simply noise. We are still on schedule to be the 3rd or 4th most dangerous city in America this year. We have no strategy, and it shows. Politicians and police officials love to take credit for these variations, but they are totally meaningless (and do they step forward and take responsibility when it goes up 10%?). New York City was the most dangerous city in American in 1992, Now it is the safest city in America. They’ve lowered their murder rate to 6 per 100,000. Ours is 15-25. How did they do it? No one here seems to care or thinks sufficiently outside the box to figure that out. In the last year NYC’s crime rate has gone down an additional 10-15% and that was with a 10% reduction of police staffing. Try explaining that. New York state now has a big problem in dramatically reduced prison populations and how to deal with closing prisons (and naturally the prison guard union is fighting them tooth and nail). It’s like the Bizzarro world compared to California.

  3. Matt

    Contributing factors can be mitigated Ralph. Perhaps enforcement of the law has something to do with lowering crime. If you get caught time and time again or see that others do then you’ll likely knock off the thieving and just suck up government assistance instead.

    We should be tossing solutions at our crime problem not negativity.

  4. Mike d'Ocla

    Crime remains way high. Property crimes, and some armed robbery, have increased this year in my neighborhood, which borders the highest crime area of Oakland.

    The old saw that if nothing changes with what you’re doing, then stop doing it and try something else. We badly need something else, something new, something effective.

    Unfortunately it all gets back to longstanding problems having to do with the lack of true community in the Bay Area and institutionalized racism and the effects of institutionalized racism.

    It’s going to be a very long time before crime in Oakland lessens. Keep your eyes wide open, keep your doors locked and keep your revolver loaded.

  5. oakie

    “Unfortunately it all gets back to longstanding problems having to do with the lack of true community in the Bay Area and institutionalized racism and the effects of institutionalized racism.”

    Really? Then did NYC in a mere 10 years end racism?

    One more data point besides Oakland at 25 murders per 100,000 and NYC at 6. From Wikipedia, Iraq’s population is about 31 million, and over 5 years of war there were 85,000 deaths:


    If my dollar store calculator is correct, that works out to 54 murders per year per 100,000 population,

    Which makes Oakland as close to Iraq as to New York. Great city to live in. I’m proud as hell.

  6. MarleenLee

    Oakland’s crime rate is still unacceptably high because City officials refuse to make public safety the number one priority, which it should be. Moreover, even our own elected officials blatantly violate the law they themselves wrote – Measure Y. How’s that for setting an example? The Council refused to even budget for any new police academies, meaning that the police force wil continue to drop, likely to levels lower than ever before. Chief Batts has his work cut out for him.

  7. Mike d'Ocla

    Oakie: “Really? Then did NYC in a mere 10 years end racism?”

    Nope. NYC is not Oakland. And it’s got 25,000 police. And it had a mayor, Giuliani, who was a lawn ordure Repug. Two different worlds.

    MarleenLee: “The police force wil continue to drop, likely to levels lower than ever before. Chief Batts has his work cut out for him.”

    It will be interesting to see what Batts can do. But it will take a lot more than police efforts to reduce violent crime, and reduce it in a socially-concious way. It will require much more community involvement.

    The number of police in Oakland is relatively insignificant in terms of reducing crime. If we had twice as many police as we do now, and we continued in our current fashion, there would be little difference in violent crime.

  8. G

    Crime in Oakland has been an obsession of mine.

    What can we do about it? Instead of crying racism at every step, we take a realistic approach at black communities. We go door to door and inform people that statistically, single mothers raising black boys are at biggest risk for raising criminals. We inform them that unmarried households (no father) leads to higher domestic abuse, misogyny, and yes, crime.

    We need to go directly to black families instead of relying on black churches to send the message: black men are killing people (mostly other black men) and they are at the heart of Oakland’s crime. They need to know this and be part of the solution, instead of some alienated group.

    We NEED a GIULIANI. People in Oakland vote DEMOCRAT and guess what happens? We get leaders who are NOT tough on crime. Instead, residents think Republicans are fundamentalists who want to say no to everything. Not true. Not true at all. One of the top reasons I vote Republican is because crime and defense are the top issues.

  9. MarleenLee

    I don’t understand people who don’t understand the connection between the size of our police force and crime. That’s like saying there’s no connection between class size and student learning. If you have a 10 to one class size/teacher ratio, kids will learn more than in a class where the ratio is 40 to one. And if you have 700 cops, as opposed to 1200 cops, you’re obviously going to have more crime. How can 700 cops possibly get the job done? They are totally overloaded as it is. Just look at the overtime. I’m not saying that there aren’t other factors, but this is a huge one that can and must be addressed ASAP. The City paid big bucks for a professional study a couple of years ago that reached the same conclusion. See http://www.oaklandnet.com/documents/CrimeFightingHarnettReport12206.pdf
    The Grand Jury last year reached the same conclusion as well. So did the 70% of voters who approved Measure Y. This is not rocket science.

  10. Chris Kidd

    Wait, so a 10-15% drop in type 1 crime is “just noise”? 21 less murdered people from this year to last is “just noise”?

    Man, I have NO idea how Republicans don’t get elected in this city….

  11. livegreen

    A 10%+ drop is nice but it’s still higher than a few years ago. Rape & Assault are still up.

    I agree with Marleen Lee. We need more Officers. But we also need more Economic Development, esp. for the least among us.

    Staying with the Police issue, the challenge is how to pay for more Officers?
    It’s been documented on ABO how much more Officers in Oakland (& CA) earn compared with NYC & others on the East Coast. Even though THEY have more per capita! (As documented by the Hartnett Report).

    So during a budget crunch when we can’t afford them, how do we hire more Officers? Well, there are more people looking for good paying jobs. It’s a good time to higher if (as Marleen says) it were budgeted…

  12. James Robinson

    Maybe we should stop worrying so much about “the least of us” and concentrate more on the working class. I was at the Beat 35X Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meeting last week and there were regular people, working people who are neither the poorest or the elite begging for help from the OPD. We should protect those honest working people FIRST, even if it means taking money from “community programs” and putting it toward more police.

  13. livegreen

    I’m all for helping the working class. That’s what I mean about economic development. I mean jobs through businesses, not donations.

    But we need this AND police, both together and not just one or the other.

    So how do we pay for more Police?

    & are the C.C. going to start talking about it, or just rest on a 10% decrease?

  14. Ralph

    Yes, a 21 nose drop in murder is noise. Murder goes up. Murder goes down. Unless you can identify a reason why this happened, you can attribute it to dumb luck or improvement in life saving techniques. You have no idea if this is either a trend or an anomaly. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate a drop in murders but I have lived in east coast cities where the murder rate averaged more than 1 a day.

    I am sick of people crying racism. Individuals claim about not having opportunity, people would have oppty if they attended class, did their work, and concentrated on their studies. We would all be better served if parents took an interest in their children. Absent this, Oakland voters try to solve these problems by spending tens of millions on after school babysitting programs of little to no value. Naturally, this means fewer dollars are allocated to public safety.

    Ballot box budgeting screws us all. Oakland residents like CA residents in general love allocate money for programs without identifying a revenue source, your basic unfunded mandate. Last I checked the only way to do this w/o raising taxes at some point is to rob Peter to pay Paul.

    Oakland residents also want to give a free pass on what they perceive to be low level crimes, such as smoking dope of the street, cars stacked up on your lawn etc. But it is the quality of life crimes we need to enforce. When people start taking pride in their community, their attitude and outlook changes.

    Protect the good honest working class, enforce the quality of life crimes, economic development, less money to questionable social programs, and longer school days and years. The vast majority of OUSD students are so far behind the education 8ball that they have no shot at a bright future.

  15. Mike d'Ocla

    MarleenLee: “I don’t understand people who don’t understand the connection between the size of our police force and crime.”

    Obviously you don’t understand. An adequately-sized police force is required to deal with Oakland’s violent crime. At 800 plus or minus officers, Oakland has an adequately-sized police force, at least in comparison to other cities with far less violent crime. More cops alone are not the solution.

    The real solutions to dealing with violent crime have to do with: (1.)The relationships between the communities here and the police department. The people in the violent neighborhoods have to be willing to inform the police about the violent social networks that dominate these neighborhoods. The people in the less violent neighborhoods which are victimized in property crimes and crimes against persons need to understand how police problem-solving works, which they don’t. Many crimes in better-off neighborhoods go unreported because people are generally in denial. Adequate crime reporting to the police just doesn’t happen now. (2.) The relationships between the impoverished, dysfunctional, violence-tolerating neighborhoods and the better-off, more functional neighborhoods needs to change. The people in the hills need to get involved with the welfare of the people on the flatlands. (3.) The police department needs to employ the latest problem-solving police methods. It needs up-to-date data management tools. It needs to be creative. If old methods don’t work, then new interventions need to be tried until effective solutions are to be found.

    And so on. There are models for police and violent-crime-fighting reform. You can read one here: http://www.cincinnatimonitor.org.

  16. Max Allstadt


    Simple city to city comparisons don’t work. In particular, it’s far too simplistic to compare our cop-to-citizen ratio (about 1 to 525) to the same ration in safer cities and think that there’s any meaning to be derived from it.

    I could compare us to Tokyo (about 1 to 300) and make the case that they have way more cops and way less crime. That would be similarly pointless.

    What makes Oakland hard to police, and what makes crime a bigger challenge here has a lot to do with other factors. We are a city of racial pluralities. We are a relatively poor city. We are a fragmented city. We are a city with a history of mutual distrust between the police and the population.

    So arbitrarily comparing us to random other cities with less cops and less crime doesn’t make sense. Trying to find cities similar to us in multiple aspects, however, makes a lot of sense. That’s why I’m so hopeful about our new Chief of Police, who’s coming up from Long Beach.

    Long Beach has about the same population as Oakland. It has similar ethnic diversity. It has very similar household and individual income levels. It is a port city. It is a California city beset by similar problems of county-state-municipal government coordination. It is a mid-sized city located near a larger city.

    And guess what? It also has more cops. And less crime.

    That doesn’t mean that new strategies, community outreach, and new thinking can’t help Oakland. But the size of the force matters too. This is not a zero sum issue.

  17. MarleenLee

    According to this article, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-12-15-homicide_x.htm
    in 2002 the force was at 778. Today it is at 795 or so. That is not a signficiant difference in the size of the force. (Also, you need to look at the size of the active force, taking into account people on leave, suspension etc. for total accuracy).

    In fact, in the five years since the passage of Measure Y, the size of the police force fluctuated from 679 (in January, 2006), a full 124 officers below its authorized strength, to approximately 830 (where it was at for maybe a month in the last year). Given the extreme fluctuation in the size of the police force over that time frame, and given that we are pretty much at exactly where we were seven years ago in terms of staffing, I don’t think you can claim we had fewer police. I”m not sure what crime stats were seven years ago, but I don’t think they were great, because Chief Word was begging for 300 additional officers at that time. When all the police chiefs in the last 10 years and formal studies and grand jury reports say we need more officers, I think it’s clear we need more officers.

  18. Mike d'Ocla

    Max: “What makes Oakland hard to police, and what makes crime a bigger challenge here has a lot to do with other factors. We are a city of racial pluralities. We are a relatively poor city. We are a fragmented city. We are a city with a history of mutual distrust between the police and the population.

    “So arbitrarily comparing us to random other cities with less cops and less crime doesn’t make sense. Trying to find cities similar to us in multiple aspects, however, makes a lot of sense. That’s why I’m so hopeful about our new Chief of Police, who’s coming up from Long Beach.”

    I quite agree. I meant only to say that police numbers don’t adequately address the problem. I am also hopeful about the new chief.

  19. Ralph

    Call me a cynic but I just don’t believe that throwing more officers at the crime problem is going to reduce the level at crime in Oakland. We continue to throw money at schools and ne’er-do-well children and there is little to no improvement in schools and student performance.

    More officers by itself is not going to solve the problem. It may help with the arrest rates, but I am not convinced it is going to stop the punk doing the crime. If one is convinced he is going to die before his 25th b-day or one thinks committing crime earns your manhood, he is not going to be deterred by an uptick in the arrest and conviction rate. I have yet to see the criminal who doesn’t think that they can outthink/outsmart the police.

  20. Mike d'Ocla

    Ralph: “I have yet to see the criminal who doesn’t think that they can outthink/outsmart the police.”

    This is adolescent-development-level thinking on the part of the criminals, many of whom never develop beyond this level.

    People learn socially-responsible behavior (and thinking) from all the social networks in which they are involved. Keep criminals away from jobs and other sorts of positive social involvement or put them in prison and they will never become full and responsible adults.

    The whole way of thinking that the violent crime problem is somehow cops vs criminals is itself destructive. To solve the crime problems in Oakland will require many many new and productive connections between the Oakland community as a whole and that part of it which is headed towards criminal careers.

  21. MarleenLee

    Government should focus on what it has the power and jurisdiction to effectively accomplish. City governments have the power, jurisdiction, and legal obligation to provide citizens with a sufficient and effective police force, who will patrol, investigate, and arrest suspected criminals. It is not the government’s job to tell parents how to raise their kids or to tell kids/young adults to do their homework, respect authority, get a job, etc. etc. That’s the parents’ job. Of course, they’re doing a hell of a lousy job, raising criminals and all, but that’s reality. I’ve never seen any evidence that throwing money at social programs to “reprogram” the problematic elements of our society really work; even if they did, it could take 20 years. We don’t have that kind of time, nor do we have the money.

  22. Naomi Schiff

    What? “Of course, they’re doing a hell of a lousy job, raising criminals and all, but that’s reality.”

    It is difficult to comment on this thread, due to the bandying about of such huge and negative generalizations. I am appalled at the categorization of Oaklanders into two camps: “us” and “others” and I think many of the comments above, while some may be well-intentioned, are deeply unhelpful and divisive.

    Marleen, now and then I may agree with you on some points but I hate the condescension and the assumption that all crime comes from some underclass.

  23. Mike d'Ocla

    MarleenLee: “Government should focus on what it has the power and jurisdiction to effectively accomplish. City governments have the power, jurisdiction, and legal obligation to provide citizens with a sufficient and effective police force, who will patrol, investigate, and arrest suspected criminals. It is not the government’s job to tell parents how to raise their kids or to tell kids/young adults to do their homework, respect authority, get a job, etc. etc. That’s the parents’ job.”

    I agree. I was talking about citizen community involvement, NGOs, etc. in providing resources to help change the destructive nature of violence- and crime-oriented communities.

    And the police can’t do all the problem-solving by themselves. Only if the relationship between citizens and police is working very well, can the police get the intelligence (information) they need to fully investigate crimes and make arrests. No amount of police resources, men, women or equipment can reduce crime without abundant community participation.

    It is important to keep in mind also that police cannot prevent crime. That is also up to citizens. Citizens need to keep their eyes open, act thoughtfully, create neighborhood watch organizations, organize their dwellings to discourage crime, and, as far as I am concerned, arm themselves and train themselves in the use of arms in order to defend themselves, in full accordance with the law, against violent home invasions. The old saw is that when the police are needed in seconds, they arrive minutes too late.

  24. Ralph

    I may be in the minority but there is an us versus them. Those who commit crimes and those who don’t. But getting people to stop committing crime is not going to happen by throwing more cops at the problem. I agree with Mike that cops versus criminal is destructive. Communities need to engage with police officers and we need to form effective partnership. I am a more than a little annoyed that people contiune to claim that all PD are racist and that they target minorities. PD target criminals plain and simple.

    Oakland needs to stop wasting money on social programs and reallocate it to those area where it has a direct influence – public safety.

  25. Matt

    If you want to see the saddest parts of Oakland improve then the able need to lend a hand with creating…

    Safe Streets
    Competent Schools
    Strong Communities

    It’s as simple as that.

  26. Naomi Schiff

    Yes, Matt. And: help find ways to train and employ young people who are at highest risk. When people have no way to obtain jobs, they are extremely vulnerable.

  27. Mike d'Ocla

    “Safe Streets
    Competent Schools
    Strong Communities

    It’s as simple as that.”

    It may be as simple as that to say, but it isn’t at all simple to do.

  28. livegreen

    Where to start? There’ve been a lot of good points touched on here, and of course there is no one simple answer. It has to be a combined, comprehensive effort. And just because 1 factor will not by itself make a difference does not mean it isn’t a part of the whole.

    Going into more detail–

    –We need more. Oakland is NOT staffed comparably to other cities of the same size. It was a few years ago, but ONLY on the West Coast. Since that time L.A. & S.F. have increased their # of Officers (esp. L.A. under William Bratton).

    & Compared to the East Coast we are way way understaffed;

    –I agree Oakland needs to improve Community Policing;
    –OPD has more Investigators in Internal Affairs than ANY OTHER Investigative division (as a result of the Riders NSA).

    That’s more investigators covering 800 Officers, than the crimes committed against 400,000 people! THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE POLICING IN OAKLAND & to it being an effective deterrent;

    –I lived in NYC when Giulani became Mayor. William Bratton was hired, & here’s what he & his team did:

    –They started arresting criminals around churches & schools, and dealing with all nuisance properties in those areas;

    –They installed the Comp Stat system to discover & target high crime areas (which L.A. has now done too);
    –In high crime areas (mostly) they also cracked down on quality of life crimes;
    –They increased the Average Age of the department by retaining & recruiting more experienced cops. This also helped avoid costly (in terms of lives & money) mis-judgements by inexperienced officers. (& the opposite of what Oakland is doing now);

    Importantly focussing on the transitional working class areas, making them safer, & esp. the Schools, helped win over minorities & show them NYPD cared.

    To this I would add my own observation based on listening to Oakland citizens:
    –OPD should strategically target transitional, working class areas (which in Oakland are mostly minority communities) & make them safe. That is strategically important both for effectively fighting crime & winning over the silent majority;

    Incidentally the Depty. Commission Jack Maple who instituted Comp Stat was also a co-founder of the Hartnett Group who advised OPD on Geographic Policing, COmmunity Policing & increasing the size of OPD. Their recommendations should not be underestimated.

    With a safer Oakland, businesses will feel safer relocating to downtown, esp. from SF. But Oakland must ALSO improve economic development employing the working class (the Port & Industrial/Distribution areas). That is a vital part of the picture. This post is long enough, so more on that later…


    PS. WIlliam Bratton is a Democrat. A law&order Democrat, who realizes that effective policing is the intersection of competent, fair policing & satisfied working class minority communities whose neighborhoods & schools were made safer.
    & So it should be here.

  29. avis

    While I have great respect for the work Naomi has done for historic preservation in Oakland, I agree with Marleen. Parents need to take responsibility for their off spring. The old liberal attitude that everything can be made better if we can just find the right social program is a big fallacy. 25 years of watching social programs fail in Oakland has taught me that. Naomi, do what we’ve always done and we will just get more of what we have always gotten. Let’s try Marleen’s way for the next decade.

  30. Naomi Schiff

    Sure, and how are you planning to change parenting? I don’t believe I have said anywhere that we should do what have always done. But Marleen doesn’t make a suggestion for improving parenting; she just blithely says that parents (what parents, by the way?) are raising criminals. Enforcement is one component but it is not the whole story, as a number of eloquent people have explained, above. Better parenting would be a good move. How are we going to get there?

    Simple condemnation of whole classes of people is damaging, not helpful, and does not serve to build community or to help the people who are at risk of falling into criminal patterns. California has more people locked up than most places, and it clearly doesn’t work, except to generate employment for prison guards, and to train criminals to be more effective felons.

  31. David

    1) oakland doesn’t have enough cops
    2) oakland doesn’t use its police force effectively
    3) oakland is not any more racially diverse than NYC, for heaven’s sake people. Or Milwaukee for that matter (38% black if I remember right, and much more segregated), but of course Milwaukee has a lower crime rate.
    4) the economy is not causing any increase in crime. Seriously. The economy is far worse now than it was in 2007, yet crime is lower.

    I’d like to repeat #4. People really need to lose the myth that poverty=crime. It doesn’t. Never has (crime was lower in the 1930′s, during the first Great Depression), and never will. West Virginia and Mississippi are similar in terms of poverty, rural vs. urban etc, and WV has a far lower crime rate than Mississippi.

  32. Naomi Schiff

    Sullivan post on this approximate topic, today.


  33. James Robinson

    I agree with avis, social programs have limited effectiveness. If anything, some government social programs have caused as much harm to the black community as good. Also, the working people of Oakland aren’t asking for a whole more government programs, they WANT MORE POLICE!

    Finally, lifting up a city is going to ultimately require a grassroots effort to change house by house, block by block, community by community. There is a book that I just read that I recommend to everyone here. It is called “Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival” by Paul Grogan. The book discusses how community groups helped lift areas such as the South Bronx. Such neighborhoods did not go from poor and rich. Instead, they went from poor and dangerous to lower-working class. It also explains what Guiliani and the NYC police chief did. Highly recommended.

  34. livegreen

    I agree with the “non-crime almost never does” [make the local news]
    Almost never any good news about positive things, even though people are doing positive things all around us.

    1. “People need to take responsibility for their off spring.” Great. I agree. Now that we’ve all said it, what did that change?

    2. Have you ever tried raising a kid(s)? It’s a tough job. Now try doing it on a single-income, with a full-time job, & no money for childcare. So if a kid is on the fence between good & bad is on the street all day, in a poor area, gang infested, with crime running rampant, how do they survive? On top of it the street-culture is teaching young men to be macho, not care about women, including their own single moms. It’s an unsupervised recipe for disaster.

    3. Just because you don’t hear about NY’s economic & educational policies doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Bloomberg has implemented big-time education reforms & also mentorship programs focussing on both minorities & the poor.

    What does Oakland have like that? These type of programs show people the Politicians and businesses care. & that stands for a lot.

    4. Of course here in Oakland the press probably wouldn’t report it even if they had such programs. The Bay Area Press only covers racial riots, not inter-racial efforts that show where people ARE contributing across economic & racial divides.

    The Tribune, Chronicle and WORST OF ALL our local TV news would prefer to fan the flames & see store-fronts burning than to report on the hard-work towards solutions.

    Maybe we should start a Boycott…

  35. MarleenLee

    Naomi – in a time of extremely scarce resources, I think it is helpful, and even necessary, to make generalizations, in order to help allocate resources to where they are needed the most and can do the most good. People advocating social programs tend to make plenty of generalizations themselves, like the root causes of crime are poverty, lack of access to jobs, poor school system, etc. Those generalizations all have some truth and are somewhat helpful. But I really think the primary culprit is bad parenting. Parents who are absent, uninvolved, having low or no expectations of their children; parents who don’t even know their kids’ teachers’ names; parents who don’t care if their kids do drugs, deal drugs, join gangs, sit on the couch and watch video games all day; parents who defend their kids’ bad behavior; parents who set horrible examples for their kids and don’t teach them or model the values of hard work, education, and respect for others.

    Do I have a solution for bad parenting? No, but I think a start would be to start identifying bad parenting as one of the main, or the main contributing factor(s). You want to know why that’s not going to happen? Because our government is run by politicians, who want votes, and if they start pointing fingers at parents (rather than the usual suspects) they’re not going to get votes. This, of course, is not just an Oakland thing. I think this is a problem throughout our country, but I do think being honest about identifying the source of the problem, and not pussyfooting around it, is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, I’ll support allocating our scarce resources to more cops. It’s just easier, and more likely to have a positive, quicker effect.

  36. livegreen

    I agree we need more Police. Back to the question: How do we pay for them?

    Also, whenever the press shows blacks & minorities interacting with the Police, they’re saying all OPD officers are racist (which is frankly a surprise given how many good black & minority OPD officers Oakland has).

    How do we get the Press to interview the many minorities who actually WANT more officers?

    Once again, I propose a traditional news boycott, until they report real views of the communities in all their colors, and some positive news…

  37. James Robinson


    The key word is “whenever the PRESS shows blacks & minorities interacting with Police, they’re saying all OPD officers are racist.” Real people on the street don’t thin all OPD are racist and many want MORE police right away.

    Also, maybe if we took some of the overtime pay we give some of the current officers and put it toward paying additional officers, we might be able to have more officers. Perhaps we should put police on salary?

  38. Matt

    Cynicism isn’t going to get things done.

    Just start with one piece of litter, one broken window or one lost kid. The vast majority of us in this town have disposable income and at least an hour of free time a week.

    On my block of MLK I pick up the trash. If my house gets tagged I paint over it the day I notice it. The graffiti is rare and it takes me ~30 min to cover up. Picking up trash takes me 15-20 min a week tops.

    For San Pablo Gateway/Uptown I’ve been calling grocery chains to get them interested in coming to the neighborhood. This takes a good hour of research and letter writing. I have scheduled to do this once a week until I can shop in my neighborhood for fresh food without getting in my car.

    Once I finish renovating my house I’d like to support a local school by mentoring youth.

    Just do.

  39. livegreen

    I agree with “just do”. Matt, for your school, check out http://www.brothersontherise.org

    Aside from a good program that can be spread school-wide, contacting the school directly to mentor is excellent too.

    I think that’s what Ralph does? I’m curious whether this is through a program or direct with the school, and how that gets set-up…

  40. livegreen

    James R., I agree. Though I’m caucasian, I’ve heard at NW, NCPC & on PSA list-serves that most Blacks want more Police.

    It’s unfortunate that some “well meaning” upper-middle class or wealthy get the impression that Police are racist, based on the negative coverage of OPD & that they have no interaction with Officers.

    On the other hand I think OPD needs to improve Community Policing in many working class, mostly (though by no means entirely) minority areas. I have heard
    from friends that some Officers are not as cooperative as they could be, and have admitted to actually being intimidated being Beat Cops in a transitional area.
    (This is a border area, lower middle to upper working class area).

    These areas need to be targeted by OPD and brought into the “safe” column, and increased & improved relations between OPD and the Community.

    It will make a big difference. Maybe even to the Press. Though I’m not holding my breath. I still think a Press Boycott is in order…

  41. Ralph

    lg, I work with a different program Build, http://www.build.org. In the 4 years I have been with the program, I have seen marked improvement in the student’s abilities. My seniors are not even close to be being at grade level when it comes to writing, but four years complete sentences were a mystery to them. I am going to go out on a limb and say we (society) can do more to address this problem. I work with students whose parents may not be proficient in English. Teachers are required to teach to the grade. After school programs designed to get students to become college eligible don’t have the resources to move students from a 3rd grade writing level to a high school writing level. I only hope that for my students that they seek out the appropriate resources when they get to college.

    As to press coverage, I am going to argue that we need more coverage. But we also need to shape the press coverage. If we allow, the press to portray Oakland as a drug crazed, ghostride the whip, unsafe to walk in any neighborhood, black people hate cops, guess what people are going to believe?

  42. James Robinson

    Capitalism is a wonderful thing, because the American consumer has the ultimate power (even though consumers don’t realize it). If you want to have more positive press coverage, you have to pay for it. I paid for a year of the Tribune for no other reason that they actually do try to have a positive spin on their coverage of Oakland (unlike the Chronicle). The only reason why I did not renew this year is because the Tribune’s blatant grammatical errors were getting to me. Have they ever heard of copy editors? Conversely, I refuse to support the TV news.

  43. Mike d'Ocla

    “Capitalism is a wonderful thing, because the American consumer has the ultimate power (even though consumers don’t realize it).”

    Yep, your wise free-market media investments have already made us better-informed. And why worry about net neutrality when the free market will give us everything we need media-wise. You betcha!

  44. James H. Robinson

    Actually, net neutrality PROMOTES a free market by promoting competition. Net neutrality allows the consumer to make the choice that might otherwise be denied them.

    Perhaps it is time to look past dogma and toward pragmatism.

    In other news, side shows are still a problem in Oakland. There was a fatal crash a few blocks a way from where I live and it is suspected that the crash was side show related. I still don’t understand people who think Oakland does not need more police. It seems to me we need more police just to regulate side shows and speeding. I think many Oaklanders would be quite pleased if that could happen.

  45. Mike d'Ocla

    “Actually, net neutrality PROMOTES a free market by promoting competition. Net neutrality allows the consumer to make the choice that might otherwise be denied them.

    Perhaps it is time to look past dogma and toward pragmatism.”

    My point was that the big “capitalist” corporations (ATT, Verizon, Comcast, etc.) are all working very hard against net neutrality. Monopoly or oligopoly capital is not interested in a free market of any sort.

    The informed citizenry is working for net neutrality.

    It is your belief that “capitalism” or the “free market” is inherently virtuous or even democratic that is dogma. Corporations are not democratic.

  46. James Robinson

    1) The free market cannot be democratic because it is an economic system, not a political system. And consumers have substantial power in a free market.

    2) A monopoly or oligopoly is NOT a free market, and giant corporations generally aren’t interested in a free market. They are interesting in winning, period.

    3) I didn’t say that the “free market” is “virtuous,” I encouraged pragmatism. I simply said that consumers have substantial power in such a free market. For example, it is Oakland consumers who are encouraging a slew of new Oakland restaurants run by entrepreneurs and local companies, not the government. Just like it is Antioch’s consumers that encourage a bunch of chain restaurants run by faceless giant corporations to be in their town, not their government.

  47. livegreen

    Re. the Sideshow Accident, I noticed the 3 guys killed were ALL from out of Oakland. They’re attracted to visit by Oakland’s reputed lack of effective Policing.

    I think that changing this reputation would have a dramatic & disproportionate effect in solving Oakland’s problems. Esp. in deterring out-of-towners who come here with bad intentions.

  48. navigator

    Can anyone tell me why the Oakland Police Department allows these sideshows to continue? They know that this happens every single weekend in the same general area and yet they do nothing to stop it. I don’t mean containing it in order to get a good overtime opportunity. These ridiculous sideshows need to be STOPPED right now.

    Close off the streets, bring in the paddy wagon, start making arrest and towing cars. Allowing this to go on week after week, month after month and year after year, is a disgrace and an affront to the good hard working people in these neighborhoods. How long would a “sideshow” be tolerated in Rockridge, Montclair, or Piedmont Ave?

    Also, as livegreen points out many people come from outside of Oakland to raise hell and trash the city. It’s time to put a stop to this insanity before these knuckleheads take out some innocent people trying to sleep in their homes.

    The Oakland City Council and the Oakland Police Department need to be held responsible for tolerating this mayhem simply because it takes place in low income neighborhoods. The parking controversy pales in importance to the total disregard shown the areas of Oakland plagued by these self-centered out of control knuckleheads. Put a stop to it NOW! Enough is enough!

  49. James Robinson

    I guess sideshows continue because there are not enough Oakland police to stop them. Of course the sideshows tend to be in the same relative area, but are there enough Oakland police to respond to calls from concerned citizens about the sideshows?

  50. Robert

    Attempts have been made in the past, but it requires large numbers of police. To be effective you would need to block every street so that the participants can’t flee the area, and you still have the problem of sorting out the participants from the spectators. In the past, crackdowns have been announced, which of course makes it much harder to actually capture anyone. And of course there would be the accusations of racial profiling after the arrests were made, or even if they weren’t.

  51. James Robinson

    But at least with a larger and more agile police force, they can get the crowds to disburse, I would think.

  52. len raphael

    Sounds like an achievable high visibility item for Batts.

    Has he taken control yet? Wonder if he made the decision to put opd on paid standby the other day before the judge announced his change of venue decision. whoever made the staffing call, it was insurance worth paying for.


  53. Mike d'Ocla

    Robert: “Attempts have been made in the past, but it requires large numbers of police…”

    I think you’ve pointed out the nature of the problem. That part of Oakland is dominated by violence and other crime and many people are frightened of criminals and gangs and also frightened of and angry with the OPD and downtown generally. Any police action is going to be very messy.

    Solving Oakland’s violence and crime problems is not for most of the the armchair generals here. It’s going to take a long time and enormous resources. The OPD and the Mayor and the City Council are going to have to do a lot of thinking and planning and allocation of scare dollars.

    The community is going to have to lead the way and pitch in and do some very hard work. The OPD and City Hall can’t do it by themselves. The community is going to have to educate itself about effective crime reduction and police department reform. From what I’ve seen here, well-informed opinions about these topics are exceedingly rare.

  54. len raphael

    MO, when the generals with the fruit salad on their chests do a poor job with the scarce resources they have, it can’t hurt for us civilians to brainstorm. plus it makes it easier for the brass to sell their plans to the civilians if we understand the dimensions of the problem.

    -len raphael

  55. Patrick

    As sideshow activities frequently lead to death, why not prosecute participants as accessories to attempted murder? Seriously, though, what are the police able to pin on these adults who act like miscreant children? Reckless driving? Disturbing the peace? Please. Until sideshows are in and of themselves fully criminalized, nothing can really be done. Nothing to see here. Please pay your $6 and get on the Connector.

  56. Mike d'Ocla

    Len: “It can’t hurt for us civilians to brainstorm. plus it makes it easier for the brass to sell their plans to the civilians if we understand the dimensions of the problem.”

    I agree. We have to complain and demand change, even if we have don’t yet have good ideas how change might come. One problem is that the (to my mind racist) tolerance of violence in Oakland as a whole has been ongoing for many years and the solutions will also be very long in coming.

    Patrick: “Why not prosecute participants as accessories to attempted murder?”

    What legal charges are made is a rather small part of the solution. The real problems lie in identifying the participants and in arresting the right people. These aspects will require extensive investigation and community cooperation and carry the risks of more social upheaval, mob misbehavior, police mistakes or misbehavior, more lawsuits against the city of Oakland, etc. After which the problems will continue and the police and the community-at-large which wants the violence stopped will be even more hamstrung than before.

  57. livegreen

    OPD does have a Sideshow detail. The article I referred to reporting the participants killed were form out of town also said that as a result of OPD’s efforts the sideshows were happening later & later in the day (5am instead of 1am, for example).

    This shows what affect OPD can have even now. To have more & make the arrests necessary we’re back where we started. We need:
    –More Officers
    –More Investigators (once again, OPD has more in IA than for ALL the rest of Oakland & it’s 400,000+ people)

    Where ideas & discussion can help is getting the City to hire more of both.

    BTW, since the economy has changed, & there’s more supply (of potential officers) & less demand (in hiring competition from other cities), it should be possible to do this at a lower expense than a couple years ago.

    I don’t know if the labor agreement with the OPOA covers new hires, but given the changes that affect the marketplace, and given that what’s good for OPD Officers & the Citizens is the same (more Officers), I hope the OPOA will show some flexibility in the salary of new hires…

  58. Vivek B

    In case folks are curious, I just ran the #s through 9/30.

    Some of the beats aren’t nearly as lucky as oakland-wide. 21X has a bad YTD (up 38% for crimes against a person, aka violent), although Sept was a good month for them. But, 20X spiked. Not so shocking, Aug was the opposite. Hence, crime seems to just be moving back & forth between those two beats.

    I got
    - Graphs for Area 1, Area 2, Area 3
    - Graphs for 5 Area 1 beats, including 12Y/13X (Rockridge), 12X (Temescal), 13X (Hills), 9X, 11X
    - Graphs for 4 Area 2 beats in the Fruitvale area, including 18Y, 20X, 21X, 21Y
    - YTD & Median per month Tables from 1/1/08->current for all above Areas & Beats, plus the following 4 Area 1 beats: 4X, 7X, 9X, 10X.

    I sent a PDF with the results to the entire City Council, plus a few senior OPD folks. I don’t have Batts email, but hopefully this makes it to him. Then, we’ll see if his desire to do anything with Community Policiing is real or not.

  59. Andrew

    G could not have said it better. Crime reduction will happen when family values are restored, period. It doesn’t have to be all rosy just an improvement and fewer single Mom’s raising crack babies that are in a vicious cycle and have such a hard chance to break the cycle. I would venture to say everyone responding to this topic doesn’t commit crime, why is that? You were probably taught better and came from a more stable environment.