Alameda County, CA
March 7, 2000 Election
Oakland must return to being a city where our residents feel safe ou on the streets
Crime can destroy a city. During the late 70's and 80's oakland experienced a period where street crime had gotten completely out of hand. Driugs, drive by shootings , robberies and burglaries had become so common until no event shocked us any more. Many people left our city due to the danger of simply being out on the streets. Our neighborhoods and schools quickly deteriorated and Oakland became a name sybolizing drug availabilty an violence.
Now that the economy has began to take an upturn and employment has gone up much of that crime has disappeared. However we must not allow ourselves to develop a false sense of security. The ugly monster of crime is still out there and many of our neighborhoods are still far too dangerous. We must not allow that cancer to spread. I lived in Adams Point for years. This is an area of upscale homes and apartments which for decades was immune to the crime epidemic which was sweeping many of our less affluent neighborhoods. But to those who paid attention, crime began to slowly rise in Adams Point. Burglaries, rapes, auto break ins, and an increased number of homelessness began to appear. What was once a safe neighborhood became one in which residents had to become more aware of crime and street violence.
Crime has now began to turn around in Oakland. For the first time in about 30 years the number of homicides in Oakland went down. You see more police on the street and they have a better attitude when it comes to relating to citizens. This is largely due to Oakland instituting a program of what is now called Community Policing. In my youth it was simply called the cop on the block. Citizens and police have joined together to form a combined force to fight crime and it is working. We must increase these efforts and began to place community policing in those neighborhoods which currently do not have it.
Do not be mistaken. I am not soft on crime. Criminals belong in jail and I have no problem with incarcerating those of our citizens who pose a danger to those of us who are law abiding citizens. To those bleeding hearts who excuse criminal behavior because of other societal problems I say "Tell it to the judge."
Oakland can and will return to a city where its citizens can feel safe walking our streets at night; where our children can feel safe going to and from school and where our cities will come here to find out how we turned it around. I have faith in our city. There is no problem which we cannot overcome if we work together.
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