New Direction Needed to Address Public Safety in Oakland

The following is the full text of an e-mail sent by Council Members Ignacio de la Fuente and Larry Reid  to their constituents and others on Tuesday, August 16.  If you haven’t read it already, we highly recommend reading it now:

The loss of any human life to criminal activity is a tragedy, but the daylight murder of a 3-year old child killed by a stray bullet is unacceptable, inexcusable, and should not be tolerated by anyone; not the residents nor the leadership of this City.

Oakland gun violence is out of control. We should be outraged by the fact that our neighborhoods are being terrorized and the killing of innocent bystanders seems to be a regular occurrence.  At present, Oakland’s homicide rate is up 50% compared to this time last year, that’s 75 murders this year.  75 murders too many.

For many years, some of us elected officials in this City have pushed for enforcement measures that others have opposed, and as a result we have not received the necessary support to enforce or implement some of the crime fighting tools that are available to law enforcement.  Whether a curfew or a gang injunction, the argument against such tools is always the same, “It’s a violation of their civil liberties and/or its racial profiling.”  Oaklanders came out in record numbers to speak out against the gang injunction, we ask those individuals today, “What about the civil liberties of this little boy who was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs?  Who is going to speak up for his civil liberties and those of his family?  Who is speaking up for the civil liberties of the young African American and Latino males that are being killed on our streets each year?”

The violent individuals committing crime in our city need to be stopped NOW.  The rhetoric about civil liberties will not bring back little Carlos, nor will it console his parents or the families of the hundreds of murder victims in our city.

The criminals in our city DO NOT HESITATE to use their weapons; we shouldn’t hesitate to use ours.  Oakland residents need to stand up and demand that those of us in power use all the weapons at our disposal to battle these lawless individuals.

We can no longer give the same tired excuses to our fellow citizens.  We ask you to stand with us and demand that the tools available to us to enforce the Law are used and that the criminals are taken off the street and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  If other cities can do it, why can’t Oakland?

Before the headlines fade, the tears dry up and this becomes “just another murder,” we ask that you join Council President Reid and I in demanding that the entire City Council and our Mayor support and implement the following public safety initiatives.  We have to do more than just talk about public safety;  we need to implement solutions such as:

  • ·Implementation of a Citywide Curfew
  • ·Full implementation of the Fruitvale gang injunction
  • ·Expansion of the gang injunction into East & West Oakland

To the silent majority in this city, the one that supports tougher law enforcement efforts in this city, IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO SPEAK UP.  Whether these violent crimes are happening in your neighborhood or not, this is OUR city and we must unite and demand change.  Our deepest condolences go out to the family of this child and the families of all who have been murdered in our city.


Ignacio and Larry

Make Oakland Better Now!

OakTalk Here is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, an Oakland community grassroots group of a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates committed to improving the City of Oakland by focusing on public safety, public works, and responsible budgets. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Guest

    How does a curfew help with daylight shootings?

  2. oaktalk

    Guest, the measures we, Chief Batts and the two council members are advocating are not directed at any particular murder. Rather, they recognize that particularly when our police department is understaffed, we need to be using every lawful “force-multiplying tool” available. No, a curfew wouldn’t have prevented Carlos Nava’s death. But there have been plenty of other late night crimes that would be less likely to occur with a carefully designed curfew law.

  3. Velvel

    I’m glad to see our represented officials put a “get tough–use all weapons” policy in writing. Oakland has been suffering my terror in their poor neighborhoods for over 25 years. Talk about racial profiling–if these neighborhoods were not hugely non-white, state and federal authorities would have cleaned this mess up long ago. Civil liberties? You’ve got to be kidding PC people. What about the civil liberty lost to walk to a nearby store? To play in front of your home at dusk? To not live in the rear of your house for fear of gunfire? I consider myself progressive on most issues, but in this case, Larry and Ignacia have it right. I only wish we could use priors to search every car and home these crooks use, confiscate the guns, money, and drugs. No need to charge them and navigate the whole justice system. Just put them out of business. If not, then stop the BS and just legalize the stuff already.

  4. Guest

    Why is Quan so opposed to injunctions? What’s wrong with her?

  5. Carol Ann Beck

    At this critical time in our history, I do not believe that injunctions violate peoples civil liberties. I do not believe that making automatic weapons violate peoples civil liberties. I do not believe that curfews for the children (all those under 18 years of age) violates peoples civil liberties. And I don’t believe that any of these things will solve the crime problem. It is a start, but the finish is in each of us working with our fellow citizens to improve their education, living standards and, most importantly, their values. It will not be done in vacuum. Either we roll up our sleeves and start actively participating or things will not get better. You can hire a gazillion police officers, but it will only exacerbate the problems.

  6. Nelson W. Black

    I am all for the proposals. Respect for ciivil liberties are an important concept in our society but respect for human life is even more important. If the experts say these measures work and are necessary to curb these senseless killings, please implement them. We also should try, within the limits of our stupid gun laws, to better control the distribution of handguns to everyone.

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