OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb took to the streets Wednesday with Oakland police. They met with business owners and managers in the Rockridge neighborhood about crime trends in the area.
In the wake of a recent crime surge, city leaders want firsthand accounts of what’s happening on the ground and what can be done to keep the criminals away. Kalb met face-to-face with merchants who have grown tired but accustomed to the break-ins and auto burglaries plaguing the community.
“The increase in not just crime but violent crime over the past two or three months, I think its just unacceptable,” said Councilmember Kalb.
“Our directives here at the Oakland Police Department are to focus on violent crime and that’s what we’ve been doing with the shootings and the robberies that have taken place,” said Oakland PD Captain Jeffrey Thomason. “But as those subside, we’re gonna redeploy these officers up here to try to deter or try to arrest some people that are doing these care break-ins.”
One business owner who did not want to speak on-camera showed KRON4 several clips of suspects scouting out and breaking into cars outside his shop.
Pourya Emsaki co-owns My Emergency Guy and says his current security set-up has kept thieves away. But that’s after his business was burglarized twice in the past two years. He says thieves are brazen and don’t fear authority.
“More patrolling possibly, or I mean, it would be a statewide issue. I believe that there’s not enough, you know, there isn’t a real prosecution for the crimes that happen and they pretty much getaway with whatever they do in this neighborhood,” said Emsaki.
Constance is a key holder at Shoes on Solano down the block and says she does not feel safe in the area at night.
“Locking up safely. You know, there’s alarms on everything, and just as a woman working here, I feel safer when it’s always light and we’re closing still when its light, and you know, the longer days really help me feel safer,” said Constance, who did not give her last name.
She says despite her building employing private security guards who make routine rounds, crime still happens during business hours.
“I know a couple of cars have been broken into right here in broad daylight and messed with right on this street,” Constance said.
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“We’ve all been talking with our police captains, our police chief and the mayor. And, they have, they’re doing two things: one, they are trying to be more visible in all the neighborhoods that have had this increase in crime,” said Kalb. “And, two, they’re investigating these crimes and putting their investigative resources into solving these crimes.”
Councilmember Kalb and police have scheduled a community meeting about crime set for next Tuesday evening at the Oakland Tech High School auditorium.