The city of Oakland, California is like a lot of other cities in this country. By that, I mean it’s seeing a continuing spike in violent crime that’s been going on since last summer and seems to be chugging right on through this one.
And Oakland seems to be getting it bad. So bad, in fact, that community leaders are asking for help.
A rising tide of homicides and a string of high-profile assaults in the city are prompting some community leaders to call for help from outside of Oakland.
Shootings over the weekend brought the number of those killed in the city this year to 78, compared to 54 during the same period last year and 49 in 2019, according to the most recently available data from the Oakland Police Department.
The rate of other gun crimes — including shootings and robberies with a firearm — are also higher now on average than at the same time in the previous three years.
Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and an advocate of increased policing, announced during a news conference Tuesday at a popular Chinatown plaza that he’s asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a “state of emergency” and send state law enforcement help, including the California Highway Patrol, to “preserve the peace, protect the public and save our lives.”
“The situation here is dire,” Chan wrote in his letter to Newsom.
The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment about the request.
In other words, people like Chan are asking for more police in the city.
Maybe he should have talked to the Oakland City Council a couple of months ago. That’s when local officials voted to defund the police by stripping nearly $18 million over two years from the police department.
The Oakland City Council approved a budget early Thursday evening that will strip $17.4 million in funding from the Oakland Police Department and direct the money toward other programs.
The $18 million is over the course of the next two years
There was some expectation that the council would delay the controversial decision but, by a vote of 7-2, the Oakland City Council approved a plan that will redirect the funds from the police department to the Department of Violence Prevention with the intention of improving public safety.
Of course, that plan isn’t exactly paying dividends right now, is it?
See, the problem with those anti-violence programs is that many may take years to really show appreciable results. Meanwhile, you’re defunding police departments now in the hopes that you’ll see a reduction in crime five years down the road. It’s insane.
Meanwhile, some in Oakland are practically begging for more policing, but because of the actions of the city council, they’re having to ask the rest of the state to come and save them. Nothing about that seems right if you ask me.
Maybe what Mr. Chan should do is try and get the city council to reverse their idiotic decision. Oakland’s police department shouldn’t be defunded, especially amid a surge in violent crime like this. $17.4 million would pay a lot of police officers’ salaries, after all.
But hey, when you’re more about the narrative than the reality, you get what happened in Oakland.