AN IMMEDIATE FIRST STEP FOR MORE POLICE AND CRIME FIGHTING RESOURCES
City Council Vote on January 22
The Promise and the Problem All of us who choose to live, work, or just enjoy Oakland know that this is a creative, energetic, and vibrant city. Unfortunately, it is no longer a safe city; our sense of security in our homes, neighborhoods and business districts has been lost. With 131 homicides and a 23% increase in violent crime in 2012, everyday activities like walking from our cars to our front doors, going out to eat, or taking the bus to an appointment now carry unacceptable levels of risk.
We all know how we got here, but we are well beyond the time for blaming each other. Whether we are in the flatlands, midlands, or hills, we all are increasingly unsafe. We are watching our beautiful city drift farther into lawlessness every week. We experience that lawlessness as:
-Drivers violate traffic laws because there are no longer any traffic enforcement officers;
-Armed burglars invade our homes to terrorize and rob us in our beds because they know there are not enough police on any watch to respond to all the calls OPD receives; and—worst of all—
-Children, young people, adults, and elders are gunned down on our streets and in our shops and homes because there are never enough police on the street in a city that has only 51% of the sworn officers that comparable cities our size and general crime rates have.
We will no longer accept these conditions as the “new normal” for Oakland! We demand that our city now take clear and immediate steps to begin to restore the Oakland Police Department as a strong and credible force that can reinstitute lawfulness to all of Oakland’s neighborhoods and districts.
Schaaf-Reid Proposals: A First-step Solution The long journey to being again a city where and laws are enforced and respected because there are enough cops on the street begins with one step. Councilmembers Libby Schaaf and Larry Reid have proposed such a legislative step. It’s a three-pronged strategy that will:
1. Increase Officers. Start new police academies as soon as possible. September is the soonest the OPD can launch its next academy after the one set to start March 27 -- but only if recruitment starts immediately.
2. Increase Civilian Staffing. Immediately hire 21 civilians -- an additional examiner for our crime lab and 20 service techs to free-up and support officers in the field to fight crime.
3. Secure Temporary Help. Contract for up to six months with sheriff's deputies to increase the number of officers policing our streets.
The cost for this proposal would be paid from increased revenues now coming into the City (that also are expected to be sustained in the coming years). More details can be found in an op-ed written by Councilmember Schaaf linked here.
This is a great city with many people, places and things that make it unique; Oakland is where we want to live, work and play. We cannot continue to let crime or any delay of action to fight it drag us down. Please sign this petition to show your support for the City taking this positive and immediate step forward for a safer Oakland.