Residents of Oakland, California said they were exhausted by rising crime in the city, as some leave, demand increased prosecution of criminals or beef up on security, according to a new report.
“As Oakland sees a surge in reported violent crimes this year compared to last, while homicides are down, robberies, burglaries and rape are all up by double-digit percentages,” CNN reporter Kyung Lah said in a segment on crime Tuesday.
“Everyone we talked to says it doesn’t matter your race, your income, everyone seems to be a target,” Lah said.
Darren White, a member of the Oakland NAACP, said that he wants his community to feel safe.
“I’m a Black man born and raised in Oakland,” White said. “When I walk out of the house every day, I want to be safe. So if that calls for some, whoever commits the crime, to be prosecuted, so be it. But we want it to be fair and just.”
The NAACP Oakland branch also wrote a letter to the city, criticizing leadership for supporting “movement to defend the police” and “anti-police rhetoric” for allowing crime to flourish.
When asked if there needed to be more cops on patrol in Oakland, White agreed. “Yes we do need more — Every community needs police.”
One mother became emotional after she explained why she was leaving Oakland. “The fact that I am being pushed out because I emotionally can’t take it anymore is horrible.”
“I can’t take it anymore. I got to the point I was too scared to leave my house.”
Another Oakland resident, Toni Bird, lives in Oakland “with a locked front gate and five security cameras.”
“I’m not looking for the perfect, safe place. I’m looking for a place where the elderly, women with children, aren’t targeted. I think we can all agree that that needs to change. I feel like it will change and that’s why I’m staying.”
Others don’t benefit from a similarly advanced security system. “60-year-old retiree Dave Schneider was shot to death in June trimming his front tree during the day. He died as Bird and other neighbors tried to save him.”
CNN analyst John Avlon agreed that the prosecution of crime in Oakland needs to change.
“We need to stop this revolving door approach to justice,” he said. “There needs to be sentencing and prosecutions in a way that’s consistent with equal rights and justice. That’s not too much to ask. You see these stats, you got to take action because it’s unleashing massive forces. You can’t effectively have situations where, for example, mass theft going into stores and grabbing things under $1,000 is effectively decriminalized.”
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