OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb is trying to crack down on violence in his district. He spent Tuesday evening talking to the community about what they’re seeing on the street in the hopes of finding solutions.
Oakland residents filled an auditorium to have their concerns heard at the “Crime and Violence Meeting” to explain what they were seeing and what they hope will happen.
City Councilmember Kalb started the meeting by saying that a good turnout to a public safety meeting is a bad sign.
Rockridge resident Mateo Kashuk says he decided to come out to the meeting because he was recently a victim.
“Two cars full of kids assaulted my wife and I, and it was motivated by, I think, wanting to beat people up more than wanting to get anything out of it,” said Kashuk. “I think it was the aggression and the hostility that freaked me out more than anything else.”
The local police chief and Kentrell Killens, interim chief of the department of violence prevention were also there to hear from the community. When Killens discussed how they’re trying to extend services to some people committing crimes, the crowd grew angry.
“I see individuals who are hurting, I see individuals who are struggling,” said Killens to loud booing.
The crowd was vocal throughout the meeting. People had the opportunity to explain their concerns–including co-owner of Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack on MLK and 40th Street, Adam Stemmler.
He says the city needs to do more to prevent crimes. His business has been targeted four times in the last six years.
“Because the last time we were held up at gunpoint I watched surveillance video of someone cock a gun back and hold it in this poor man’s face and if something happened to one of my staff members, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” said Stemmler.
He says they can no longer accept or keep any cash at the business for fear of being robbed.
“I have to look people in the face and say we don’t take cash and people think we’re trying to be elitest and classist but we’re just trying to protect the safety of our staff members, ” he said.
He says he has reached out to Kalb multiple times. Sometimes he gets a response and sometimes he doesn’t. They have had meetings, and Kalb agreed that they have to take small steps to make things safer, like beautifying the streets and making streetlights brighter.
But Stemmler hasn’t seen it happen yet.
“If there is work happening, it’s happening behind the scenes, and it would be nice and gratifying and fulfilling to see them show the work,” Stemmler said. “I’m not saying there’s not work happening, but it feels like we’re not seeing it.”
Councilmember Kalb encouraged people to continue to email him about problems there seeing in hopes of finding more solutions.