THE OAKTOWN CHRONICLE

I AM NO LONGER CONFIDENT THAT OAKLAND CAN PULL OUT OF THE CURRENT CRIME WAVE IN TIME TO AVERT A MAJOR ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. AND I’M AN INCORRIGIBLE OPTIMIST…

Jay Gaskill

Saturday, August 09, 2008

THE OAKTOWN CHRONICLE

The murder rate is out of control. Violent, thuggish crime is out of control. There are two thousand too many felony parolees AND at least 100 too few active duty street-level police to manage Oakland’s thug problem.

At an annualized rate, Oaktown is headed to a bumper crop of murder victims. By August 3 of this year there were 81 dead victims. This startling number foreshadows about 150 total killings by the end of the year.

With a population of roughly 420,000 Oakland’s murder rate far, far exceeds that of New York City on a per capita basis. That city of 7 plus million had fewer than 500 murders in 2007; those numbers are up 8% in 2008. To approximate Oaktown’s dubious accomplishment, New York murders would have to reach 2,570. They are nowhere near that number, of course. [Please do your own math here; it’s a chilling exercise.]

THE OAKLAND MURDER RATE IS ABOUT 35.7 KILLINGS PER 100,000 PEOPLE PER YEAR. THAT’S 357 PER YEAR FOR EVERY MILLION.

Thugs are holding up popular restaurants and patrons (surprise) won’t eat out in Oakland after nightfall.

Mayor Dellums seems as sympathetic to the out-of-control thugs as to their terrified victims.

Please read these stories, published across the bay in the San Francisco Chronicle, then make a choice: (a) weep for Oaktown’s bleak future; (b) get active to do something about it…

A Plague of Killing. http://www.sfgate.com/oaklandhomicides/

Oakland on edge after a string of holdups. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/09/MNQ0127RA4.DTL

Note these pull quotes:

In the past month, hooded or masked gunmen have burst into eight restaurants from Piedmont Avenue to East Oakland, stealing money from customers and clerks. The holdups, on the heels of a similar wave of robberies in North Oakland earlier this year, have residents fearing that no place in the city is immune to brazen crime.

Mayor Ron Dellums, speaking with reporters Thursday, urged people not to develop a siege mentality and said police and city officials are moving swiftly to make the city’s commercial areas safe.

“There’s no magic answer,” Dellums said. “There’s no silver bullet. When people are desperate, they take desperate acts. We’ve got to keep trying as diligently as we can…

THE OAKLAND HOMICIDE MAP http://www.sfgate.com/maps/oaklandhomicides/

CHIP JOHNSON’S COLUMN IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE:

OAKLAND DESERVES A REAL MAYOR: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/29/BABG120TJM.DTL

Pull quotes:

After being led by two consecutive celebrity-politicians as mayor, the people of Oakland might be better served with a citizen-mayor, one with his – or her – feet firmly on the ground and familiar with residents’ desires, government’s challenges and the city’s top priorities.

Mayor Ron Dellums, the 72-year-old former longtime East Bay congressman, has come to realize through the smoke and haze of a month in hell, that neither he nor his staff possesses the experience or skill to manage the city’s fiscal and service operations.

In his first year, Dellums spent most of his time in study and travel, a political sabbatical of sorts.

If Oakland’s experience with celebrity mayors provides a lesson, it would be that hard work, long hours and a continuous vigil for opportunities – and efficiencies – are the ingredients to becoming a successful mayor.

[][][]

Dear Mayor Dellums:

You have known about the Oakland crime problem from the first day in office. Surely, by now it has occurred to you that there still aren’t enough police officers on the streets. Otherwise, why would OPD suddenly welcome the help of the “Guardian Angels”?

You have said that “When people are desperate, they take desperate acts”.

Sir, I know the criminal mind well. Trust me when I say that thugs can and should be deterred by the meaningful threat of swift apprehension and strong punishment. Rehabilitation and sympathy are properly reserved for the small subset of parolees who remain deterred from thug violence; yes, many of them can still be saved.

But here’s the deal: It is more important to achieve community peace and safety, especially for the vulnerable, than to coddle thugs. Yore observation that “When people are desperate, they take desperate acts” applies to your law abiding constituents, many of who hare voting with their feet and others who are hoping for you to resign before you do any more harm to that once great little city by the bay…

JBG

Reference some of my many, many earlier calls for common sense and prompt action:

Turning around Crime – My Report and Recommendations as I privately presented them to Former Mayor Jerry Brown http://jaygaskill.com/TurningAroundCrime.htm

Three Op Ed’s during the period when the problem hadn’t yet gotten out of hand…

Saving Oakland http://www.jaygaskill.com/chief05.htm

Oakland’s Murders http://www.jaygaskill.com/tribb.htm

Oakland Reaping… http://www.jaygaskill.com/reap.htm

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