OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A flurry of homicides, a mass school shooting, and deadly car jackings have left some Oakland residents wondering what they can do to stay safe in their city.
“People have consternation, fear, anxiety. It’s not just in one or two neighborhoods but most, if not all, of the neighborhoods in our city,” City Council member Dan Kalb said.
This year, 102 people have been slain in Oakland. Some were robbed of purses or vehicles before they were shot. Most recently, 60-year-old Arturo Coronado was killed in a normally-quiet neighborhood off Park Boulevard on October 4. Coronado was trying to stop two thieves from stealing his vehicle’s catalytic converter when he was shot in the doorway of his home, Coronado’s friend told KRON4. The victim yelled at the thieves to get away from his car and the thieves fired a fatal shot through the doorway.
“He was just a really good, kind person who never hurt anybody and did the best he could,” Coronado’s friend, Justin Dawson, said.
The Oakland Police Department’s Victim Services division has begun handing out fliers with safety tips for residents.
To stay safe in Oakland, residents should not roll down their windows while driving, according to the OPD Victim Services’ flier. When possible, don’t drive alone. If you see someone loitering nearby and you’re not in your car yet, “stay away from your vehicle,” police wrote. Leave space between your car and the car in front of you while driving so you have enough room to escape, according to OPD.
Meanwhile, Oakland police officers say they are overwhelmed by how many crimes are happening around the city. “Every week, thousands of 911 calls come into the Oakland Police Department. Amid the calls of murder and mayhem, a skeleton staff of police officers is struggling to respond,” Oakland Police Officers’ Association President Barry Donelan said.
According to OPD Victim Services, the best ways to protect yourself and thwart would-be car thieves are:
- Keep your doors locked and windows closed when driving. When possible, drive with a companion.
- Plan your route before your trip in advance. Travel by freeway or well-lighted, frequently-used surface streets as much as possible.
- Leave enough room to see the tires of the vehicle ahead when you stop your vehicle in traffic. The extra space allows maneuverability for escape.
- If your vehicle is “bumped,” don’t stop or get out if you suspect the incident was deliberate.
- If you come face to face with a carjacker, don’t resist the theft. Your life is worth more than your vehicle.
- Do not wait in your car in the driveway of your home.
- Take a quick look at your surrounding before you get in or out of your vehicle.
- Have your vehicle keys in hand and be ready to unlock and enter your vehicle promptly. Once inside, lock all doors.
- Stay away from your vehicle if you see someone loitering nearby.
According to OPD, the best ways to protect yourself and thwart would-be ATM thieves are:
- Use ATMs in well-lit, populated areas. Do not go to the ATM at night. ATMs inside grocery stores and banks are more safe to use.
- Scan the area. If you see a person loitering for no apparent reason, go to another location.
- If you see something strange during your transaction, push cancel, take your card.
- Leave immediately after the transaction. You’ll have cash in hand making you a target.
- Quickly enter the nearest building or store if you suspect danger.
According to OPD, the best ways to stop fraud are:
- Learn how to spot common scams, frauds, fake websites and phishing.
- Know your seller / buyer. If you don’t do some research.
- Do not give or verify personal or financial information about you or anyone else over the phone.
- Mail or make your donation directly to a recognized charitable organization.
You can report any suspicious activity to the Oakland Police Department by calling its emergency phone number directly at 510-777-3211.