Oakland Public Library supporters host bike ride, read-in to protest cuts

I’m assuming that everyone who reads this blog is already aware of the proposed destruction of the Oakland Public Library system in Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s budget. Right? (You’d think I wouldn’t need to ask, but I continue to encounter people on a daily basis who don’t know anything about it.)

If you’re just tuning in, the proposal is basically to close 14 of OPL’s 18 locations entirely. The remaining four locations (the Main Library, Rockridge Branch, Dimond Branch, and the new 81st Avenue Branch) would be open for only limited hours, and only 2 or 3 days a week. There would be no more e-books, no more databases or other electronic resources, no more programming, no more storytime, no new materials purchases — you get the idea. Library Director Carmen Martinez summed it up at a Council budget hearing earlier this month like so:

Library services as we have provided and enjoyed them all these years would cease to exist.

I don’t want to live in a city that doesn’t have a library. I can’t imagine who would. And if you feel the same way, I strongly encourage you to check out Save Oakland Libraries, an organization that has formed to protest these cuts and remind the Council that libraries are a core service, and an essential part of quality of life in Oakland.

On their website, they have a toolkit offering flyers, petitions, fact sheets, and sample letters to help you raise awareness and support among your friends. With the Council’s budget vote fast approaching, it is really important to demonstrate as much support for the library as possible in the next few days. For regular updates, you can follow Save Oakland Library on Facebook and SaveOPL on Twitter.

One of the reasons I’ve been so delighted with the efforts of Save Oakland Libraries is that they’ve been doing a lot of really creative and fun events to raise awareness of the proposed cuts. Yes, they’ve turned out lots of people at Council meetings, like every other group that’s ever protested cuts to their favorite city service, but they’ve also done a lot of fun, non-Council meeting stuff, like a storytime in front of City Hall before the last Council meeting, a zombie crawl up Telegraph, and a funeral procession for the Oakland Public Library system (complete with coffin) during the Art Murmur a couple of weeks ago.

So today I wanted to highlight a couple more upcoming events in support of the library, both of which I think sound really fun.

Save Oakland Libraries Bike Ride

This coming Saturday, June 18th, there’s going to be a Save Oakland Libraries Bike Ride. They’re going to start downtown and ride through Oakland stopping at several of the branches slated for closure:

Meet at Frank Ogawa Plaza (steps of Oakland City Hall) at 10am. From there, we’ll head to (in order) AAMLO, Asian Branch, Cesar Chavez, Melrose, MLK, 81st Ave and end at the Elmhurst Branch grand re-opening party.

The route is approximately 10 miles: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/36150834.

The ride is designed to be a fun, family friendly event. We will stop near or at several BART stations for those who do not wish to ride the entire route. Folks can also choose to meet up at any of the above branches and join up with the larger ride as we pass by (think pied piper). For timing reasons, we won’t stop at each branch for very long – save the Cesar Chavez Branch and Elmhurst.

We encourage you to:

  • Bring music! (Speaker bikes, boom boxes, etc.)
  • Decorate yourselves and your bike!
  • Please tell your friends, your family, and your co-workers to join us. The more people we have riding with us, the more powerful our statement will be: WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THE CLOSURE OF OUR LIBRARIES!

Here’s the map of the route:

Save Oakland Library bike map

Get more info and updates on the Facebook event page. Then, on Monday…

14 Hours, 14 Branches: A Read-In to Save Oakland Libraries

I think this is such a cool idea. Next Monday, June 20th, library supporters will be demonstrating their opposition to the proposed evisceration of the Oakland Public Library system by reading out loud continuously (in 15 minute shifts) in front of Oakland City Hall from 6am to 8pm — one hour for every branch the Mayor has proposed shutting down. More info, from the Facebook event page:

14 Hours, 14 Branches is a 14 hour read-in being held on Monday, June 20, to raise awareness that 14 of 18 Oakland’s branch libraries (including AAMLO and the Tool Lending Library) will be eliminated under the current budget Scenario A. City Council presents their budget recommendations on Tuesday, June 21, and we want to have our voices reading for an uninterrupted 14 hours the day before to send our message loud and clear: save ALL of Oakland’s public libraries.

People will read in 15 minute slots continuously from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on Monday, June 20 in front of City Hall. We’re having children’s storytime (and possibly some other themes) but ultimately want people to be able to read anything that is meaningful to them. The spectrum of books read will reflect the depth and richness of resources available at all branches of the Oakland Public Library.

And they have a seriously impressive lineup! Plenty of library staff and devoted library patrons will be reading, as well as all these great local authors — Mac Barnett (Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, The Clock without a Face), Annie Barrows (Ivy + Bean, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), Shirin Yim Bridges (Ruby’s Wish, The Umbrella Queen), Jennifer Holm (Turtle in Paradise, Penny from Heaven), Kathryn Otoshi (Simon & the Sock Monster, What Emily Saw, One), Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts, Louder, Lili), Harriet Rohmer (Heroes of the Environment), Lissa Rovetch (Hot Dog and Bob), Dashka Slater (The Wishing Box, The Sea Serpent and Me).

Plus Charlie Haas (The Enthusiast), Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation), Shailja Patel (Migritude). AND, most exciting for me, Frank Portman (of The Mr. T Experience fame, and author of King Dork, Andromeda Klein)!

And of course the blogoaksphere will be represented. dto510 is reading from 2:45 to 3:00 pm, and I’m scheduled for 6PM, immediately following Dr. Frank! 1:15 to 1:30pm. [Updated: I ceded my primetime spot to someone more famous. -V] I haven’t decided what I’m reading yet, so I’m open to suggestions in the comments. I was thinking maybe something from Thucydides? Following me Starting at 4 will be several hours of local writers and celebrities. [Updated: Including Ishmael Reed!]

Anyway, it’s totally worth checking out if you work downtown or live downtown or even pass through downtown on your way to or from work. If you have kids, consider bringing them down after work. There’s a lot of children’s authors on the list. Plus, it’s never too early to teach the virtues of civic engagement! I think the whole event is going to be super fun.

Here’s the Facebook event page for more information and updates.

76 thoughts on “Oakland Public Library supporters host bike ride, read-in to protest cuts

  1. The Boss

    As a proponent of shutting all the libraries down, I just thought I should point out that, I believe V Smoothe has said she works for the library. So, you should take that into consideration when reading this post.

  2. annalee allen

    Boss, you are not serious are you? It is inconceivable to me that anyone would be in favor of shutting down any of the libraries. Why would you want such a thing to happen?

  3. The Boss

    Naomi – maybe so. Still felt it should be mentioned.

    Annalee – paper books are an anachronism. Libraries should be replaced by virtual book lending using kindles and the like. The physical spaces should be replaced by smaller Public meeting spaces with minimal staffing.

  4. TML

    Boss: I can’t believe you are actually saying this. I might agree with you more if the area where this measure was being proposed was a rich, suburban area were libraries go unused anyway, but Oakland of all places NEEDS its libraries. How do you expect inner-city or otherwise under privileged children (and adults, for that matter) to succeed in school and life without a SAFE environment like a library with all the RESOURCES that it provides? Books, computers, internet access, assistance with research from an AMAZING staff, dvd’s, periodicals…. These are the things that feed our minds. What about the people who cannot afford a kindle (like myself) and who like the tradition of a paper book, if only to feel something tangible in their hands. Oakland NEEDS its libraries. Period.

  5. Jasmine

    Boss – Libraries, and for that matter the vast majority of social services, should be useful for people across the income spectrum. Saying that a libraries functionality can be reduced to the use of e-readers excludes a wide range of people. It’s like saying “let them eat cake”. Access to the MANY services that libraries offer including access to text shouldn’t be limited in that way.

  6. Deborah Hansen-Ching

    Boss, I can’t believe you have ever even visited a library, let alone used one for any practical purpose. I am truly agog at your ignorance. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  7. annalee allen

    I could not disagree with you more, re: relevance of paper books. I am shaking my head right now. Wow. If that is what you really believe, I feel very sorry for you.

  8. annalee allen

    Furthermore, your comment about “minimal staffing” is incredibly insulting, if not actually scary. I don’t want to contemplate a world where librarians don’t have a place to function and help the rest of us access the wealth of materials that are not digitized and are not likely to be digitized. That is a loss I cannot even begin to contemplate. I hope you are never in a decision-making position when it comes to whether or not we keep our libraries. I usually subscribe to respecting other people’s opinions, but your view is wrong wrong wrong.

  9. len raphael

    AA, i hate my kindle with a venegence, but use it for half the many books i buy for the convenience.

    I’ll miss paper also, the ultimate high resolution media, but my book publishing clients tell me that the move to electronic publishing is happening much faster and sooner than they expected. Maybe not as fast as film photography became extinct (about three years) but quickly.

  10. Oakie

    I can’t believe Mayor Ah Q’s ploy is working on the citizens of Oakland. Basically she is saying they don’t have enough budget to trigger the collection of Measure Q money. Well folks, the answer is NOT to support Q’s Yet Another Tax So They Can Continue to Waste Money. It’s to FIND things to cut so THERE IS MONEY FOR LIBRARIES.

    For example:
    The mayor of San Jose (a city 2.5 times bigger than Oakland) has LOWERED HIS OWN SALARY to $117k. As recently as Mayor Brown, the Oakland mayor made $100k.

    Given the incompetence we have to suffer through WHY DON’T WE CUT HER SALARY to AT MOST $100k?

    It’s only been a few years that city council positions received a HUGE INCREASE to make them “full time.” It was argued that we need to pay more to get competent leadership.

    Well? Do we have competent leadership? Have we justified those huge increased with compensation for city council members?

    If we don’t have enough money for libraries, then why are we paying such large sums for these incompetents? Let’s return their salaries to 1990 levels. I’m not sure they are worth even that much.

    Governor Brown cut the number of state supplied cell phones IN HALF.

    WHY HAVEN’T WE DONE THAT IN OAKLAND?

    Mayor Brown had an annual expense account of $100 (to pay for a NY Times subscription). WHAT IS MAYOR Q’s?

    What was the budget for Mayor Brown’s staff? Compare that to Mayor Q’s staff now?

    And the real point is: what are we getting for that money now that is proportionately better than we got under Brown?

    What we ought to do is FIND CUTS so that we can AFFORD LIBRARIES.

    As George Orwell said, it’s nearly impossible to see what is obvious and in front of your eyes.

  11. Naomi Schiff

    Jerry Brown threatened to cut libraries a few budgets ago. That is why we passed Measure Q. (Jerry Brown was also independently wealthy. I believe the mayor is taking a cut, but maybe I didn’t get that right. Someone will correct me if that’s wrong; I think I saw news on that this morning somewhere.)

    I am professionally in the electronic AND print publishing business, full time, and have worked through the entire technical changeover since hot type. I work for some of the world’s largest publishers. Some of them, unfortunately, are making disappearing books. That is, your access to an electronic book (perhaps purchased in the process of taking a class, for example) expires and you can’t get to the book any more. Also, some can’t be printed out. Many printed books are easier to read, have high-quality illustrations, and are usable without electricity, batteries, or gadgets. Some are rare and not digitally available. We need libraries for their electronic subscriptions and internet access to things that publishers make expensive to obtain, to journals and magazines, and to obtain access to other information banks unobtainable by the average person on their cellphone or ipad. We need them for the pleasure and serendipity and valuable finds you get when you are browsing without knowing exactly what you seek. For some, the only internet and computer access IS the library: library computer usage is enormous, with every station generally in use. Now, with the continuing commercialization of the internet, one has to wade through site barriers, advertisements, truncated articles, and requests for payment. The library will be the best avenue for efficient finding and use of information. The librarians are experts; they have become cross-media data resource experts at a time of considerable complexity. When I first used the internet I could easily find and access technical papers and resources now hidden behind various walls, expensive subscriptions etc. We need our libraries now more than ever.

  12. len raphael

    Naomi, excellent point that public librarians will/are providing guidance and training to users, rather than just selecting books, stacking shelves, babysitting, and literacy projects.

    they can do that just fine remotely from their homes or over the phone from cheaper phone banks, much the way advice nurses or pc help desks do it.

    the best argument for brick and mortar libraries are that they provide a safe study hall for ghetto kids. there is that minor issue mentioned above about how do the kids get to the libraries and back without getting killed.

  13. Naomi Schiff

    No, Len, the atomized electronic approach has some bad pitfalls. Communication is not always more efficient that way. Haven’t you been in a round robin e-communication that seems endless and doesn’t ever resolve? We need to preserve and encourage interaction and connection in our community. We need places where folks can encounter knowledge without knowing beforehand exactly what they seek. Getting rid of personal interactions with our city government is going to further debase the health of our institutions, and will yield a more dissociated and isolated bunch of citizens.

  14. annalee allen

    I remain highly skeptical about these claims as to the imminent demise of traditional publishing. And even if it were true, what about all the materials already existing? There is just no way to get around it; libraries are here to stay.

  15. len raphael

    Annale, exactly what people said about photo film 10 years ago. Wish it were so, but..

  16. Max Allstadt

    The single most frustrating thing to me about the issue of the libraries is that I believe in saving them, but I don’t think that the solutions currently being suggested are enough.

    Nor do I believe that all available solutions are being considered in good faith. This is mainly because a lot of totally viable and wise solutions would result in resistance from special interest groups.

    Ballot mandated pension reform has been used in other California cities. In Oakland, the City Council won’t dare to try it. Why not?

    We could also do some short term ballot adjustments to charter mandated spending:

    What if the charter was altered so that in a state of fiscal emergency, declared by a super majority of the council, all ballot mandated spending quotas and thresholds would be able to be adjusted by up to 25%, or 50%. A 25% reduction in Measure OO spending would take the Measure OO set aside from being 3% of the general fund to being 2.25%. And if it was temporary, contingent on the council declaring an emergency, that funding would come back once we were out of the mess we’re in.

    What about the council’s backroom decision to excuse all the Yacht moorings in Oakland from owing parking tax? We could probably get a few FTE per year worth of revenue from undoing that decision. There’s been a lot of rhetoric about class warfare going around lately.

    I think that reinstating the Yacht Tax is EXACTLY the kind of class warfare that Oaklanders would like to see right now. I mean, I’m willing to vote for a $80 parcel tax on middle class homeowners, but I sure as hell won’t do it if the council refuses to start taxing yachts again.

  17. Naomi Schiff

    Okay let’s tax yachts. I’d pay the 80 bucks too. Question: “adjusted by up to. . .” could that mean adjusted up OR down? just wondering, could lead to some strange results.
    How many yacht moorings are there, anyway? Is the tax different by size?
    Here’s my budget proposal of the evening: the higher level bureaucrats who draw up the budgets generally don’t cut their own jobs nor those of their immediate subordinates; they go for cuts to the more numerous but lower paid jobs. We should think about whether some of the departments are top heavy (I believe yes) and look at how many functional jobs in the ranks might be spared by eliminating a few not-quite-so-necessary higher-level admin jobs.

  18. ralph

    M2O never saw the light of day thanks to the compromise that I still contend was not a compromise.

    The mayor should have proposed structural changes. The sole reliance on a parcel tax to fund services that we should no longer provide was a bad gamble.

    I use libraries. I find them of value but if comes down to public safety or libraries. I will take public safety every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    The city needs to grow the economic base. The only way to do it is to reduce the crime and attract employers.

  19. Max Allstadt

    @Naomi,

    Part of the reason that layoffs have made Oakland’s government top-heavy is probably exactly what you mention. Union contracts mandating seniority-based layoffs are another reason for the situation.

    Layoffs should also include people who have seniority but also have mediocre or problematic performance evaluations.

  20. Donna M.

    I too believe that libraries are an essential quality of life service. The City Council needs to think about the long term outlook for Oakland. The only way Oakland will ultimately end this crisis is with an increase in revenues. Eliminating basic quality of life services that are expected in any city will not improve Oakland’s long term outlook. It will ruin it.

    I own a home in Oakland. My neighborhood is not high crime. Property values have dropped some from their peak, but have not plummeted. Homes in my area are selling without difficulty. My house is currently worth much more than I paid for it 12 years ago. The City Council has already decided to stop maintaining our parks and public spaces. If they decide to eliminate libraries too, that will be the final sign that this city is not worth investing in. I will sell my house while I can still get a decent price for it, and move up the road to a nearby city that delivers value and services in return for my significant tax bill. I don’t mind paying taxes, but I am not willing to pay a six figure tax bill every year and get nothing back from it.

  21. J

    Donna,

    I believe the key to the City’s long-term financial solvency and the ability to provide core public services is in developing a diverse tax base and growing the tax base as a means to increase tax revenues. Growing the tax base requires Oakland to attract more businesses and attract more residents with higher incomes who will create a demand for goods and services. In order to attract more businesses and residents to Oakland I believe we need to address both the real and perceived crime problem.

    There are some neighborhoods in Oakland that are relatively stable–Rockridge, Piedmont, Temescal, Montclaire–but if you look at most of the flatlands relative to Crimespotting data there are huge swaths of Oakland that are completely unattractive to prospective business owners and residents because of the high crime rates. High crime rates mean greater incidences of vandalism, product loss, and threats to your personal safety or that of your employees. In addition, there are real financial consequences in terms of increased costs for security, insurance, etc, not to mention the emotional stress and hassle of dealing with burglaries, muggings, murders, etc.

    Right now Oakland relies largely on property taxes which are related to property valuations. Property values in Oakland are not as high as they could be, even with the real estate crash, because of real and perceived crime rates. So we end up with a double whammy–reduced property taxes due to the economy but also the loss of potential property taxes due to depressed property valuations associated with real and perceived crime rates.

    Deal with the real and perceived crime rates by making people feel safer and you will be able to grow and diversify the tax base.

  22. JSBA

    I agree with you J, crime is a major problem, but you also must remember the reasons why people choose to live, work and start business in a city. Cities are attractive to people because of the resources they offer. Oakland already lacks a real legitimate shopping selection for those with the expendable income to purchase on impulse and without discretion. In other words the middle class, upper middle class and wealthy. In addition to lacking proper retail, the city also lacks well maintained roads and parks. Adding libraries to the list of things Oakland lacks will do nothing but make Oakland look that much more less attractive to anybody that can effect the tax base. Oakland will lose its well to do citizens and they will be replaced with more groups that NEED the services of the government but cant afford to pay for them. Im not against the poor or disadvantaged but the reality is, for a city, those people cost money they don’t make it. So the city needs to do all it can to retain the the upper classes. Oakland needs to make itself attractive to those who can essentially pay for themselves to live here. Give those people the services and attractions that they want and even with high taxes they will still feel its worth it. I would happily pay high taxes if i knew that i could do all of my shopping and social activities withing the city limits. Im not referring to just the basics either. I mean luxury items. However, i digress. As a young adult what happens now in Oakland greatly effects me and my choices for the future. I am passionate about this city and want it to succeed. I am at a point however that i have to convince my girlfriend that it is feesable to relocate to this city form Seattle, a city that functions as a city should, to here. Lacking resources such as libraries makes my home town look quite unpleasant. As far as the comment on Kindels replacing books, take a look at any college campus, law school, medical school, or business school. Books all over. Im very sorry for the long post and somewhat rant like tangent.

  23. Naomi Schiff

    Say Ralph, a few posts back you mentioned M20. I don’t know what it means. Definition?

  24. Antwone

    J you hit the nail right on the head. grow the tax base and there will be more than enough revenue for public services.
    Expand the “good areas” and you will not have people like Donna footing the bill for everyone.

    i live in the flats of east oakland and there’s not even a 7-11 or starbucks within walking distance of here. There’s a pizza hut where you have to place your order through a 6in bullet-proof class but that’s about it.

    very few businesses even dare set up shop here. Such huge wasted potential.

  25. Erica

    I want to reiterate to those of you following this on your home internet connection, who might believe that libraries mainly have paper books, you need to come by and visit.

    Public libraries serve all classes, all ages, all ethnicities. We provide access to information that not everyone can afford. Think about how much you pay for your internet connection and the ink for your printer. Think about how you learned to type, to search online, to figure out how to find what you need. For people who haven’t gone to college, or who finished college before 1985, it’s the librarians who bring them up to speed on the technology you might otherwise think replaces that paper-book library of your imagination.

    While you’re visiting, ask if you can see the meeting room calendar, too – because we host community meetings of an incredible variety of support groups, local non-profits, and others. Public libraries are vibrant places where families & friends & colleagues meet, and where strangers discover what they have in common.

    Not everyone comes there just for the books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, & recorded books. Some people come there because it’s the only public restroom in a five-mile radius, and it’s dry and warm in the rain, besides.

    Did you know you can download free e-books & audiobooks using your public library card? If our budget isn’t cut, we’ll continue to subscribe to online databases like Gale Business Directory and Ancestry.com, so you don’t have to pay an individual subscriber fee to get that information. (Many, many other online resources, too.)

    I just wanted to make sure you know what that 2.3% of the Oakland general fund does, because if you’re online & thinking you don’t need public libraries, I think you might be missing most of what you’ve been paying for all these years. It’s not just poor people who use our resources, it’s also educated, rich people who’d rather spend their cash on something else.

    But my favorite things are story times, and when classes visit for an orientation and to do some research, and (especially today!) the fabulous Summer Reading Program, of course!

    - Erica (Children’s Librarian in Oakland)

  26. Naomi Schiff

    Len, I’m gonna be square and avoid the inauguration of the embarrassment that is remember them. Socialist realism provided by capitalist boosters. I can’t believe that public money was squandered on this. I hope it works as a climbing structure, and I hope someone provides funny hats for the characters.

  27. Navigator

    J,

    The perception of high crime hurts Oakland much more than the actual crime rate. Oakland does have many businesses despite the crime. You mentioned Rockridge, Montclair, Temescal and Piedmont Ave. We can add areas like Adam’s Point, Trestle Glen, Jack London Square, Glenview, Redwood Heights, Dimond etc.

    Even Fruitvale is a thriving area with very few vacancies and even some new construction. The new Chinatown area around the Eastlake neighborhood is another area that is thriving because of the hard work of Asain immigrants. It’s true that crime is too high in these areas, but this doesn’t stop the economy from moving ahead. It’s just like no one worries about businesses leaving San Francisco because of the crime and filth.

    SF has just been named one of the dirtiest cities in the United States to go along with their crime plagued downtown, but I don’t see anyone relocating from there to a much cleaner and safer downtown Oakland. Oakland’s negative image is much worse than the reallity when you put the crime into context with SF and report crime in a consistent maner for both cities.

    Pandora has no problem with Oakland and has stated “we love Oakland.” Pandora has even been trying to convince high tech companies in SF to relocate to downtownn Oakland.

    Downtown Oakland has a lot going for it like the central location, great public transportation, a fantastic climate, great restuarants, interesting architecture, a picturesque large lake for walking, biking and jogging during lunch hour, an interesting waterfront at Jack London Square, a modern City Center with Bart access, and a clean downtown core thanks to the great work of the “downtown ambassadors.”

    Downtown Oakland should be a boom town considering all of the advantages and amenities. Why do we have 200,000 people per day crossing the Bay Bridge to SF from the East Bay? It’s not crime. It’s image.

  28. livegreen

    Image of Crime = Reality + Media Magnification. I agree with you Nav, but only in degree. Yes the pockets of crime are mostly pockets. But not only. You mentioned Dimond and every couple years Dimond has a murder or two. Not as bad as other areas but enough that it scares some residents to leave. Bella Vista, same thing only worse recently.

    That’s why 13th Ave. and 14th Avenues have a lot of potential but have flatlined recently. That’s also what keeps the progress in Eastlake from moving farther East.

    The entire area between 13th Avenues and Fruitvale or even Coolidge have tremendous potential. But year-after-year it’s stuck neutral in “potential”. And that’s because of the reality of crime, not the media coverage of that area.

  29. livegreen

    Naomi, I agree with you there. I also thought of the climbing structure (the downside being the kids falling off).

    Another potential use is graffiti magnet.

    I can’t believe this is the pinnacle of our Chamber of Commerce’s community spending (at least the most publicized one). Are they doing other large community grants? They might be, but they sure aren’t good at getting the word out (to Nav’s point, about the importance of publicity).

  30. J

    Navigator,

    I do not disagree that the perception of Oakland as having high crime rates is a huge issue. However, there is also a reality to high crime rates that discourages investment.

    For example, I know a young, educated, couple who lived in a rental unit in lower Rockridge. In ten years, they called 911 once because of a homeless person camped out in their vehicle in front of their home. This couple then purchased a home in “North Oakland” below Shattuck. In five years, this couple has called 911 at least 30 times by their count because of significant crime issues: their house was burglarized three times, their car was stolen, their neighbor’s house has been burglarized nine times, there have been dozens of armed muggings within several blocks of their home, there have been several murders within several blocks of their home as well as gang shootouts.

    They pay higher auto and home insurance rates than in lower Rockridge because of the crime and security issues. They must also spend money to employ a home security system. Not to mention their elevated stress levels associated with living in such an area. The neighborhood looks fine–but there is plenty of crime.

    Homes in their North Oakland neighborhood below Shattuck average around $400,000–$450,000. With some homes going in the mid $300,000 due to foreclosures. The area is close to Temescal, Rockridge, Elmwood and Emeryville and has access to BART and freeways. It has a lot going for it. The home styles and sizes are very consistent with lower Rockridge–2 and 3 bedroom Craftsman Bungalows.

    So why are home prices in this North Oakland area $200,000-$400,000 less than in lower Rockridge? Why do home prices drop significantly when you step below Shattuck and even Telegraph? Because real and perceived crime rates discourage prospective residents from buying in these areas and push the demand down resulting in lower home prices. Lower home prices mean lower assessed values resulting in lower property taxes and lower transfer taxes. This results in lower revenues that the City could otherwise collect and use to provide services.

    This educated couple who both make more than $75,000 are so fed up with the crime rates they are now selling and moving to Walnut Creek where the crime rate is next to nothing, the roads are paved and the parks and libraries open.

    I have work near Pandora for over ten years. The Uptown area has improved drammatically because there was a push by Jerry Brown to bring in higher end condo’s for people with disposable income. The number of new restaurants and businesses that followed has been nothing short of a success. But one has to wonder how much more successful Uptown could be if you dealt with both the reality and perception of crime in that area. There are many, many people who would patronize Uptown restaurants and bars, but don’t because they are afraid to come to downtown Oakland due to real and perceived crime.

  31. Navigator

    J, Would those same people who are afraid to come to downtown Oakland go to San Francisco? The answer to that question will tell you wether perception of crime is more important than actual crime.

    Oakland has always had crime below Shatuck and below certain parts of MaCarthur. Of course people would rather live in areas with lower crime rates. My point is that certain areas don’t get tainted for having high crime compared to other areas. My point about downtown SF’s crime rate and filth still stands. No one can answer why downtown Oakland isn’t a boon town because of downtown SF’s filth and crime problem.

    Why don’t companies relocate out of crime plagued and dirty downtown SF into safer and cleaner downtown Oakland? It’s easy to get the crime figures for both downtown areas and we already know that SF has ranked as one of the filthiest cities in the nation with downtown being particularly dirty.

    Oakland just doesn’t do enough self-promotion and image enhancement to compete with SF. Oakland likes to beat itself up for having the same problems as every other major American city. Oakland doesn’t fight back and allows itself to be defined by the editors in the SF media editing rooms.

  32. Antwone

    I recently sent a letter to police chief Batts where I proposed doing away with the crime hot spots maps. That’s sort of a radical idea but I feel that advertising areas of crime is actually backfiring and contributes to the problem of perception.

    what’s happened is in the past. lets move forward. I dont see the good in putting out a map where there’s red all over the place. It only discourages people from wanting to come to Oakland.

  33. Naomi Schiff

    Livegreen, part of the charm of “remember them” is that its sculptor is on the board of chamber. It is a monument to self-interest.Then, they said they were donating it and contributing all the money needed to plop this thing in a perfectly nicely-designed open space. Then, they didn’t raise all the money so asked the city to put in funds. Plus “them” are not particularly Oakland-related characters. I mean sure: it is a mixed bag of obvious choices of well-known famous people who did something important. But Mother Teresa? At least give me Mother Wright! All in all, I’d rather not remember “remember them” I’d rather we’d all forget it. But it is so large. It will be very hard to ever remove it.

  34. J

    Navigator,

    I agree that Oakland needs to more aggressively promote itself to counter the negative images in the media. You will need 5-10 good stories about Oakland to cancel out the impression of 1-2 negative stories. However, those negative images are not without basis. Having worked in downtown San Francisco for eight years and doing business in downtown San Francisco for the past ten years (but working in Uptown), my perception of downtown SF is not that of a dirty, crime-ridden area. Quite the opposite. And it’s not from what I read in the media, but what I have actually experienced. I feel safer and more comfortable walking in downtown San Francisco (except the Tenderloin and Mid-Market) at night than DTO.

    I think that to address both the perception and reality of Oakland’s crime problem we need a multi-pronged strategy: (1) promote all that is good about Oakland and its wonderful neigborhoods including the restaurants, historic buildings, waterfront location, foothills great housing stock, etc. I agree Oakland does not do enough self-promotion; (2) increase the number of police to approximately 1200 so that you can can have a visible presence patrolling the streets and can have enough police to respond quickly to crimes in progress; (3) have a strong and coordinated denunciation by a diverse leadership of our Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, educators and the religious community every single time there is a serious crime; (4) strongly support the gang injunctions and reject the gangster lifestyle; (5) provide targeted social and economic support to those single parent households, living in poverty, that are African American and that have male children in their households. These are the families most at risk for their children to become involved in the criminal justice system; (6) work to get the large number of parolees returning to Oakland opportunities to be located and placed in other communities rather than being returned to Oakland’s poorest, most destitute neighborhoods; (7) target services and support to prevent young women from becomining single mothers; and (8) buy out liquor stores/liquor licenses in the the five most crime troubled beats and extinguish those uses/licenses so they never be used in Oakland again. These are but a few ways to erase both the reality and perception of crime in Oakland.

  35. Max Allstadt

    Naomi:

    Don’t forget so-called master of humanity Winston Churchill, who’s mostly famous for his role in winning a war, partly through a carpet bombing strategy against civilian targets. Churchill also gave us this unbelievably racist quote:

    “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” That quote is verified and sourced as something Winston Churchill actually said. Check snopes.

    And then there’s FDR. He did a lot of good stuff. He also initiated the creation of the world’s first nuclear weapon. He ordered firebombings of civilian targets too.

    And of course he signed the flagrantly racist executive order which forced thousands of Japanese Americans out of their homes and into internment camps. Racist because he didn’t do it to Italians or Germans too. And then there was the unabated theft of all of those Japanese Americans’ property while they were interned… Real master of humanity, Mr. Roosevelt.

    Also, the sculpture is entirely too big for it’s location. And the whole notion of calling it Oakland’s “Mt. Rushmore” is idiotic. Views of this thing will be obstructed on all four sides within a couple hundred feet of it, especially once development of Uptown is complete. The whole point of Mt. Rushmore is that it can be seen for miles.

  36. Navigator

    J, My impression of SF based on being there on many occassions for business and leisure is of a dirty downtown filled with beggars and hoodlums. I guess if you take out the Tenderloin, Mid Market, 6th Street, Civic Center and SOMA, you’re OK. That leaves Union Square which had a German tourist hit by a stray bullet and the financial center which doesn’t have much foot traffic once the offfice workers get on the Bay Bridge and head back to the East Bay.

    I like some of your ideas about dealing with this issue. Personally, I would focus more on promoting the city and challenging biased and slanted reporting. I would challenge SF media about why they withhold San Francisco crime while reporting the exact same crime when it occurs in Oakland. I would challenge entertainment promoters who use Oakland facilities like the Paramount Theater and then tell their audience that they’re in San Francisco. I would call them up and tell them that they will no longer be able to use Oakland theaters and pass themselves off as being in San Francisco.

    You have to at least challenge these people and let them know that Oakland is not a rag they can use and then throw away while giving all the positive publicity to San Francisco. Did anyone from Oakland actually call the producers of “so you think you can dance ” and threaten to sue or at least register their displeasure? That’s what’s wrong with this town we allow ourselves to be used and sit by quietly. There’s no pride.

    BTW, I think a statue in downtown Oakland is a good thing. Anything to bring more possible visitors to Oakland is a good thing.

  37. len raphael

    Naomi, as much as i detest the Chiodo Creature and the waste of tax deducted charitable contributions and city funds to construct, I am very sure that the artist did not make a penny off of it and had only the best intentions. From mutual acquaintances I’m told he’s a very decent guy, who donated his own time, and is big booster of his hometown, Oakland.

    Max. Danville. Thinking of moving there?
    Over the years have known quite a few people who found it to be a fine example of Californian upper middle class suburban living. Never got a complaint about the schools, the roads, the crime, parks, or the public sculptures.

    It also serves as supplier of young adults to Oakland who move here because they hate suburban living. What I’m not so sure of is whether the accept the high crime here as part of the excitement of living in a vibrating city.

  38. len raphael

    One of the positive things that’s come out of the high crime in the gentrified areas of N Oakland below Shattuck has been the support of the North Oakland gang injunctions by young families who if they lived in Rockridge or Temescal would have been likely to have opposed the GI.

    Having to push your kids down on the floor, behind the refrigerator, or into the cast iron bath tub can do a number on your ideals.

    -len raphael, temescal

  39. Naomi Schiff

    I have nothing against Mr. Chiodo. He has had an impressive career making “custom dimensional” pieces for trade shows and installations. There are many very nice well-meaning people who make bad art. But to make bad art that also costs the public money and intrudes upon a well designed open space, well that’s not so nice. I’m afraid we’ll be more laughingstock than tourist destination, but oh well I have given up. Let’s just hope that the art project for the adjoining corner of 19th and Telegraph is vibrant, interesting, and a great success.

  40. Naomi Schiff

    Oh. I know Danville. It is very pleasant for what it is, a bedroom community in a place that gets hot in the summer and has very large garages on the houses. Some of the people who live there move to cities after their kids have gone off somewhere. Many of the people who live there come into town for cultural activities. People commute by car, mostly. Not very transit-oriented or green.

  41. Navigator

    I don’t like Danville. It’s too hot, too pretentious, too generic, and too boring. I’d never want to live there. Max, just because a San Jose blogger who wants to take the A’s from Oakland claims that I live in Danville, doesn’t make it so. I live nowhere near Danville. Marinelayer was wrong just as he is about many other things.

  42. Navigator

    Naomi,

    We have to remember that at one time the Eiffel Tower and the Sidney Opera House were considered “ugly.”

  43. Max Allstadt

    Those are some pretty lofty comparisons to pull up. Right up there with Mt. Rushmore.

  44. annalee allen

    I remember speaking with the artist a year or two ago. As a Oakland boy coming up, he says his desire to become an artist is due to encouragement from his teachers in the Oakland public schools. (for what it’s worth).

  45. Ken

    Navigator – do you live in Oakland or not?

    Anyway, Transamerica Pyramid is a much more nearby comparison than Eiffel or Rushmore. Peeps hated on that too when it first sprouted.

    Separately: I wouldn’t have paid the extra $1-2 billion (?) for the fancier East Bay Bridge design…

  46. len raphael

    Annalee,
    I might have misheard, but i thought the artist’s family lived in Oakland but he attended school in Piedmont.

    But yes, his heart is in the right place.

    -len

  47. Naomi Schiff

    Ken you are right. What I think of as The Brown Protrusion (works for either of the ex mayors Brown) has added enormous expense and time and a lot of additional Chinese steel where none was required. But at least it will stick up.

  48. len raphael

    Max, i don’t know if the Chiodo Creature came first or OUSD curriculum featuring those people did.

    You might have to get OUSD to blacklist Churchill and FDR. SB easy to get them to ditch The British Bulldog. But, FDR?

    If you succeed in blacklisting WC, we can run a contest for whose face should replace his. Hmm, don’t want to add any more carbon footprint increasing bronze.

    So someone with a thinner, smaller face. No hair.

    No hair. That rules out Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee.

    -len

  49. Chris Vernon

    Crime rates are roughly equivalent between Temescal (12X), Lower Rockridge(12Y) and most of the rest of North Oakland (beats 11X, 10X, and 10Y) over the past several years. There isn’t any real noticeable change until you get up into the hills – that’s fact, not perception.

    Actually, the highest crime rate in North Oakland is often the Piedmont Avenue area (beat 8X).

    Are perceptions sometimes skewed by frozen yogurt shops, cafes, etc.?

    Crime, although still a huge problem, has been decreasing steadily in most of North Oakland over the last few years.

    Support for the GI is very mixed in the North Oakland neighborhoods affected. I personally feel that the Shattuck Ave neighborhood has been that much safer due to the GI, but it’s hard to really gauge. Having been in the Shattuck NCPC for years, we’ve seen similar things before; when one or two dangerous criminals have been neutralized one way or another, crime, especially violent crime, goes down accordingly.

    Chris Vernon

  50. Felix

    V. Smooth,

    Thanks for promoting this excellent cause.

    I’m curious, where do you propose the city get money to fund libraries (and tree trimmers, and street cleaners, and so forth)? Do you advocate for more concessions from public employee unions? If so, of what nature? Would you support any new taxes (at the state or local level) to support basic city services?

  51. len raphael

    Naomi, I’m good on on the hairless head part, but at 7 5/8 compared to WC’s 7 1/18 head size we’d have to build up the bronze. http://www.hatlife.com/headsize.php

    Nah, i was thinking that paragon of IRA virtue, Gerry Adams. Do we still have a street named after him? If so, we could put him on the Creature, and recycle the street name to Barbara Lee Blvd.

  52. J

    Chris

    Thanks for the crime stats. I can certainly see the significant differences between hills and flatlands. However, can you further expand on your comparison of the various neighborhoods. Are you talking about all crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, etc. Is there any variability in the data based on type of crime committed.

    Also, is there any reason to believe that residents in Rockridge, Temescal, North Oakland, Piedmont would actually report occurrences of crime differently. In other words, are some Beats more likely to call 911 and follow through on reporting crimes than others. Could this be based on the organizational level and strenght of the NCPCs and neighborhood associations and neighborhood watch groups. Could it be based on income levels, educational levels, or even race/ethnicity. In Oakland there are some that would not cooperate with the police at any cost and thus are less likely to even report they were the victim of a crime.

    I guess I am trying to understand your report that Temescal, Lower Rockridge and North Oakland have essentially the same “reported” crime rates. That does not comport with my personal experience nor that of my friends. But anecdotes do not necessarily lead to scientifically sound conclusions.

    If not for crime rates, what do you believe is the cause of the lower property valuations in North Oakland from that of Lower Rockridge or even Temescal?

  53. Navigator

    J, I think the crime stats Chris has made available confirms that perception is more important than reality when it comes to crime and economic development. Who would have thought that Piedmont Ave. has as much crime as North Oakland below Shatuck.

    Perceptions of crime have a lot to do with how well kept an area is or the demographics of the area. Although in San Francisco’s case it has nothing to do with how dirty downtown looks but the tourist image created for SF.

  54. J

    Navigator,

    I wouldn’t make that assumption just yet. In looking at random Crimespotting Data for the areas in question over the last year, there is certainly an argument to be made that each area Chris mentioned has similiarities in the rates of thefts, burglaries, and vehicle thefts. But, clearly the crimes related to aggravated assaults, simple assaults, robbery and murder are more prevalent below Telegraph and certainly below Shattuck. That’s why I posed the questions to Chris regarding the data he reported.

    It also important to acknowledge that not all crimes go reported. This is related to whether you believe cops are friends or foes and whether you believe that reporting a crime to a cop makes you a snitch and whether you believe it is even worth the hassle factor. So what gets reported in a particular neighborhood or Beat may not be the true experience of residents or a true reflection of the actual crime rate.

    If a prospective buyer does their due diligence on crime rates by using Crimespotting data or other similarly accessible data they can draw their own conclusions which are likely influenced by real estate agents. This can be done without relying on the media. Looking at Crimespotting data I would be most concerned about the red data points since they point to more “violent” areas which are below Shattuck towards San Pablo. Frankly, North Oakland’s crime, except for the gang conflicts and injunction are rarely reported in the media. I hear more about incidents of crime from neighbors and the NCPCs than the media.

    I think we all have to be cautious when using crime data and ask a lot of questions about the data before coming to conclusions. However, there is one fact that remains indisputable–the number of reported crimes in Oakland per population over the last ten years are far higher than almost any other city in California and is among the highest in the country–this even when crime rates have fallen significantly across the nation. By that measure, Oakland has a very real crime problem. Most of the flatland neighborhoods are what are driving these high rates of crime. The hills are not.

    The media may report in a sensational way some crimes because they are brutal, particularly violent, or occur at public venues. That certainly reinforces the perception of Oakland as a high crime area. Reduce the real crime rate and I suspect you will begin chipping away at the perceptions. But Oakland and the media have built up that perception over many years and many 100 plus years of murders. You cannot erase that overnight.

  55. Chris Vernon

    In fact, Piedmont Avenue typically has higher levels of crime than North Oakland below Shattuck.

    Yes, I was talking about all crimes. Not surprisingly, burglary is higher in Lower Rockridge, but still significant in other parts of North Oakland. Burglary in Temescal is usually comparable to the other beats I’ve watched (10X, 10Y, 11X and 9X). Compared with other parts of the flatlands, violent crime is considerably lower throughout North Oakland.

    If you’re interested, go to the OPD website, search over the last 90 days by beat:

    http://gismaps.oaklandnet.com/crimewatch/default.asp

    That’s what I’ve done over the last several years every so often – The Crime Watch site is very buggy and often crashes, but the information is all there. When you see the map of the beat(s) you are interested in, click on ‘Report’ to get a listing of the crimes by type over the time period selected.

    There’s also Oakland Crimespotting, another website that tracks this stuff.

    I can’t really speak to what makes victims of crime call or not call to report crime – probably a very complex set of variables would have to be considered to really know that. Demographics may well play into it, but I’m sure that would only be one factor.

    Our NCPC certainly encourages people to report crimes to OPD and to the Shattuck NCPC hot line. It’s a painfully slow process sometimes, but chronic problems that are noted on the hot line then receive more attention from our beat officer, and many of them are resolved. As chronic problems are dealt with, the levels of crime seem to trend downward over time.

  56. BarryK

    Max, you’re wrong again.
    “And of course he signed the flagrantly racist executive order which forced thousands of Japanese Americans out of their homes and into internment camps. Racist because he didn’t do it to Italians or Germans too.”

    Correction–
    “A total of 11,507 Germans were interned during the war, accounting for 36% of the total internments under the Justice Department’s Enemy Alien Control Program.[23] Such internments began with the detention of 1,260 Germans shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[24] Of the 254 persons evicted from coastal areas, the majority were German.[25]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_American_internment

    Additionally, during WWII, Canada kept German POWs (Nazis) along with stateless Jewish people in the same barracks.

    Len- Chiodo Creature!! Love it!! Did you coin this term?

    I was under the impression that the Quan Regime was requesting changes to the Creature. Namely, that it should include: Stalin; Chavez; Mao; Castro; Ho Chi Mihn.
    (Lenin and Trotsky were left off the list since they were of Jewish birth; (like Chiodo’s creature exclusion.)

  57. len raphael

    So what were the various rates of a few categories of violent crime in those areas?

    I’d have been surprised if rates of property crime were higher below Shattuck than say Lower Rockridge. More and better stuff to steal in Rockridge

    J, trying to correlate crime with specific property value differences would be tough. Proximity to Bakesale Betty’s, Rockridge Bart, and Zachary’s might be better predictors. People are willing to pay for walkable amenities.

    I’d expect the biggest component to be household income, not race. But in North Oakland as cf to the East Oakland Hills, income and race are intertwined.

    Then there’s the marketing element which drives Nav nuts. How else to explain why identical homes 1 foot south of 51st Street (above Tele), sell for at least 50k less than north of 51st Street. (Though that difference used to be 100k minimum before Temescal got hyped.)

  58. Max Allstadt

    BarryK,

    You’re splitting hairs to win a point. 11000 out of many millions of German Americans were interned. Most Japanese Americans living on the west coast were interned. They also had all their property taken and they didn’t get anything resembling substantive compensation until 1988.

    I knew a German American who lived in a coastal area (Long Island) during WWII. He didn’t get interned. He served. Really nice guy. His name was Grandpa Allstadt.

  59. Naomi Schiff

    Barry with all due affection, however much that is, I advise you lay off the red-baiting as it makes you sound like a creaky cranky antique and greatly diminishes your gravitas.

  60. Naomi Schiff

    Len, Gerry Adams has more hair than Ron Dellums. I agree with Max that the figures seem randomly chosen and some of them may not be all that admirable. I’ve never been all that big on Mother Teresa either.

  61. len raphael

    A buddy of mine got a hug from Mother Teresa once. Said it was birdlike but made him tingle.

    I’m just grateful Bill Clinton was left off. When Clinton had his book signing at Cody’s a few year’s ago, met a guy who had just stopped by Cody’s and was telling me that when Clinton looked at you, you felt like you were the most important person in the world to him.

  62. J

    “Compared with other parts of the flatlands, violent crime is considerably lower throughout North Oakland”.

    North Oakland certainly has a lower violent crime rate than West Oakland or East Oakland, but how does “violent” crime compare among the various beats you mentioned. I have a hard time believing lower Rockridge and Piedmont suffer the same violent crimes as does North Oakland and Temescal. Both North Oakland and Temescal are closer to South Berkeley and West Oakland respectively and there are a lot of spillover crimes.

    I can understand why Lower Rockridge and Piedmont would have more property crimes–that’s where the good stuff is and, I would fathom that residents in those communities are more likely to call and follow up on crime reporting than residents in North Oakland–a number of whom have a poor relationship with the police and do not want to be viewed as snitches.

  63. len raphael

    J, by Piedmont, that’s not the city of, but the Oakland neighborhood, right? That neighborhood appears to be physically less cohesive than many other sections of north oakland, has quite a few multi unit dwellings intermixed, and has wide empty streets for quick get aways. Nary an OPD patrol to be seen off Piedmont Ave.

    Have yet to see any evidence disproving my contention that in Oakland’s high diversity low cop ratio situation, higher density = higher crime.

  64. livegreen

    It also abuts Piedmont on one side, and Broadway a couple blocks away on the other, so not as much density in income-owned properties.

    A lot of neighbors don’t send their kids to school at Piedmont Ave. Elementary for some reason, and it’s a drop-off school (I’ve heard) for many at Kasier who then aren’t around for PTA meetings or to work on it over the weekend.

    Finally many merchants in Oakland don’t actively participate in the communities where their business are located, unless they live there. This is certainly not true of all merchants, but is true for “many”.

    Oakland has 1 community/crime prevention coordinator for all merchants in Oakland. That might get cut along with the other NSC’s at tonights budget meeting…

  65. Chris Vernon

    Admittedly, only a snapshot -

    Here are the last 90 days in beats 12X (Temescal), 12Y (Lower Rockridge), 11X (Shattuck Corridor), 10Y (just west of Temescal and 11X), 10X (San Pablo Corridor, further west), and 9X (Piedmont Ave. Corridor):

    13 crimes against persons, albeit skewed towards simple assault vs. aggravated assault in lower Rockridge

    16 crimes against persons, again skewed towards simple assault in Temescal

    14 crimes against persons in Shattuck Corridor, split 7 and 7

    17 (7 and 10) crimes against persons in Piedmont Corridor

    28 (10 and 18) crimes against persons in San Pablo Corridor

    33 (13 and 20) crimes against persons west of Shattuck corridor and Temescal

    Beat 12Y Lower Rockridge

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 1
    ALCOHOL 1
    BURGLARY 37
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 3
    ROBBERY 2
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 12
    THEFT 43
    VANDALISM 12
    VEHICLE THEFT 17
    Grand Total 128

    Beat 12X Temescal

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 2
    ALCOHOL 3
    BURGLARY 21
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 4
    ROBBERY 10
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 14
    THEFT 41
    VANDALISM 11
    VEHICLE THEFT 16
    Grand Total 122

    Beat 11X Shattuck Corridor/Bushrod

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 7
    ALCOHOL 2
    BURGLARY 19
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 4
    NARCOTICS 7
    ROBBERY 8
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 7
    THEFT 35
    VANDALISM 13
    VEHICLE THEFT 12
    Grand Total 114

    Beat 10Y, just west of 11X and Temescal

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 13
    ALCOHOL 2
    BURGLARY 20
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 8
    ROBBERY 7
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 20
    THEFT 18
    VANDALISM 13
    VEHICLE THEFT 6
    Grand Total 107

    Beat 10X, San Pablo Corridor

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 10
    BURGLARY 31
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 6
    NARCOTICS 1
    ROBBERY 5
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 18
    THEFT 29
    VANDALISM 11
    VEHICLE THEFT 11
    Grand Total 122

    Beat 9X, Piedmont Ave

    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 7
    ALCOHOL 2
    ARSON 1
    BURGLARY 13
    DISTURBING THE PEACE 6
    NARCOTICS 1
    ROBBERY 8
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 10
    THEFT 80
    VANDALISM 10
    VEHICLE THEFT 25
    Grand Total 163

    J, on what are you basing your supposition that residents of North Oakland, minus Rockridge and Temescal, are less likely to call the police?

  66. len raphael

    Chris, interesting. by any chance, do you know what the population is for those beats? probably not available by beat.

    So maybe it’s not the average crimes against persons rate, but the absolute number of aggravated assaults that scare people the most.

    Reading local website that a bike rider got held up at gunpoint last friday evening on Webster north of 45th St is more disturbing than two kids knocking down a pedestrian. I’ve lived here too long.

  67. J

    Chris

    Thanks for the data crunch. Very interesting. If I aggregate the aggravated assualts, robberies, and simple assaults for each of the beats with the idea that these crimes are the ones that give one the perception/reality of a violent neighborhood, we see that Beat 10Y west of Temescal is the tops with a total of 40. This makes sense since it is closest to West Oakland which is a high crime area. 10X the San Pablo corridor is next with 33. Again this may make sense since San Pablo is a corridor that runs through West Oakland into North Oakland. Emeryville Police tell me that most of their crime is generated by West Oakland residents spilling over the City border. Next are 12X Temescal with 26, 9X Piedmont with 25, and 11X Shattuck with 22. Picking up the rear is Lower Rockridge with 15. I do find the numbers for Piedmont to be very interesting and would have guessed they would be more comparable to Lower Rockridge.

    I agree with Len that it is not really the average crimes per person that most people are concerned about. What makes people feel unsafe is getting robbed at gunpoint or getting physically assaulted. That is not to stay people are not concerned when their car is stolen or their house is burglarized, but I think the fear factor is greater when your life is put at risk.

    Chris, because crime rates are largely based on reported crimes, one has to inquire as to whether there is some reason to believe one Beat reports crimes at a greater rate per actual crime than others and, if so, why. This is important because if a Beat under reports it may lead one to falsely conclude that their crime rate is relatively lower than other Beats.

    My impression is that Lower Rockridge and Piedmont have more residents who are likely to have higher income levels, higher educational levels, and are more likely to be professionals, as compared to Beats 10Y, 11X or 10X. Frankly, this also means they are more likely to be White or Asian. Because of these socio-economic characteristics and their position in the socio-economic hierarchy they may have greater trust of the Oakland Police and they may be more willing to report and follow up on crimes or afford to spend the time away from work to report the crimes. This may also mean they are more organized around crime issues through NCPCs, neighborhood associations, and neighborhood watch groups.

    In Oakland it is well-reported that communities or neighborhoods with larger concentrations of African Americans and Latinos are likley to be distrustful of the police due to their concerns and perceptions of racial profiling, excessive stops and searches by police, excessive force by police and targeting of suspected gang members, as well as a long history of overt and subtle racism.