Oakland residents gathered Monday demanding more security following crime in the Fruitvale neighborhood, including two recent shootings.
The meeting room at Fruitvale Village’s Senior Center was packed with residents and business owners telling the mayor and police chief they’re fed up with what seems like a lawless neighborhood and they want real solutions soon.
“There’s no excuse for the crimes that are being committed,” said councilman Noel Gallo.
Top of my mind for many of the citizens were two recent daytime shootings in the Fruitvale Market area.
The one on April 2 sent two people to the hospital and another one three days ago.
Multiple shots were fired in both, very close to Arise High School while students were in class.
“There was not just one gunshot. I counted around nine, at least, and it was an extremely traumatic event,” said Karla Gandiaga, Arise High School principal.
Others were upset about ongoing property crimes, thefts and very public drug use and distribution on the streets.
“The selling of drugs directly in front of my house,” said an Oakland native.
A handout from OPD did not include drug crimes, but it showed compared to the three and a half months of 2022, violent crimes and property crimes are down in the first part of this year.
But OPD admits it’s a struggle to be everywhere in a city with an understaffed police force that’s short dozens of officers.
“Oakland does have the most violent crimes per officer in the United States for all major cities,” said Captain Jake Bassett of the Oakland Police Department.
And one major need expressed by multiple citizens, more languages offered on the city’s English-only website and more Spanish speaking officers and crisis intervention specialists on the beat in Fruitvale.
“Under this administration, we are committed to bringing back those walking officers who speak Spanish here in the Fruitvale,” said Mayor Sheng Thao.
More possible solutions from BART police and OPD who encouraged citizens to Oakland’s crime hotline and the BART Watch App to report crimes.
“We can’t be everywhere, so we need the help of everybody, but we also want to let them know we will be there to help them,” said Bill Spears of BART police.
A United Voice by Several speaker asked the mayor, police, BART and the Department of Violence Prevention to come together and formulate a crime prevention and reduction strategy in the Fruitvale and release it to the public within three months.
“Hopefully more holistic approaches, because it’s not just police. We would like to see the Department of Violence Prevention,” said Chris Iglesias, The Unity Council CEO.
A request that the mayor gave a thumbs up to and police officials said they’re already working on.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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