Oakland Neighborhoods Desensitized to the Violence

While certainly Oakland is on the upswing in most areas traditionally, inhabited by a melting pot of people. Downtown is being taken over by the Shorenstein Corporation, a major owner of commercial buildings in San Francisco. The quality of life in the “Uptown Area” is finally blossoming. Jack London Square is our “SOMA” with all of the loft apartments, high-rise condos, eclectic restaurants of which the affluent are coming and establishing roots in an area no so long ago affectionately known as the “produce district”, well it is still sorta but the lofts, and high rent apartments are becoming more of a reality everyday. Most Oakland residents, longtime, new and transplanted from San Francisco, have developed a sense of pride for Oakland regardless of the sensational headlines received. Most people’s perception about the crime is that it occurs in East Oakland, Lower Park Blvd., and West Oakland. Crime is now infiltrating the traditional affluent neighborhoods, namely the Temescal neighborhoods, North Oakland’s Rockridge and more. As a resident of Oakland and community member, I have been desensitized to the violence, it is common knowledge to read, hear on the radio, see on television some type of violent event on a daily in Oakland. While that is very disturbing, it is not uncommon in most major cities today. However, now the violence is creeping into the so called “nice neighborhoods” people are starting to take notice and, say to themselves we have a problem! Our police department is understaffed, riddled with financial constraints, low moral and has to focus on violent crime as opposed to lessor crimes in nature, i.e., property crime against a home, car or valuables or possibly violent crime against an individual in the “nicer neighborhoods”. The response time is triaged due to the nature of the crime. Generally, when you call the police the first question asked is “did someone die, or get hurt”? We live in a society today, where violence is systematic due to unemployment, lack of employment, eroding of family values, and a general disregard for life. We cannot expect for the the police to post a guard on every corner, we have to band together as a community and say enough is enough. It has been debated that community crime prevention programs, or strategies help facilitate changes in the infrastructure, culture, or the physical environment in order to reduce crime. However, I feel that while diversity of these approaches is necessary, we must include neighborhood watches, and community policing. Community leaders, should seek ways to engage residents as opposed to enraging and taxing them, include faith-based organizations in addressing the factors that contribute to the neighborhoods crime, and disorder.

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