Message from Councilmember Loren Taylor to residents of Oakland District 6 on recent public safety and crime incidents
Over the past several weeks I have had many phone calls, email exchanges, and face-to-face meetings with residents of our district regarding the public safety and crime-related challenges we face across Oakland. I am sharing this message to provide similar information to those with whom I have not yet been able to meet.
Recently we have experienced tragic events in our city from the death of Misty Smith Walton in District 6 in front of her home, to the more recent death of Shuo Zeng in District 4 after he was the victim of a laptop theft. In addition to these tragedies many in our community have reported an increase in armed robberies as well as home and auto burglaries. Across our city, crime has increased in the past year, particularly in property crimes, which includes auto burglaries and laptop/cell phone snatches. And even though the homicide rate in District 6 was down by 30% last year, across the city it went up by 7 percent.
As your neighbor, I am outraged by the harm that is being inflicted on members of our community. As your District 6 Council representative, I am committed to continuing my work with Oakland residents, City staff, and law enforcement to address the challenges of violence in our community. Through my role on the City Council’s Public Safety Committee and in my daily interactions with Oakland Police Department leaders, I constantly bring greater focus to their East Oakland activities and ensure more attention to the public safety challenges that we face and the solutions required to address them. Below are a few of the activities that the city is taking that are expected to have a direct impact on the crime and safety levels in District 6.
Activities being undertaken by OPD to address Oakland’s increase in crime include:
• Multi-City police department taskforce focused on auto burglaries and other property crime. This taskforce is modeled after a similar taskforce was extremely successful in San Francisco in 2017-2018.Participating cities include Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Leandro, Emeryville, and Piedmont.
• Continued focus on intelligence-led policing including Oakland’s Ceasefire Strategy which led us to a 50-percent drop in gun violence from 2014-2018.
• The launch of Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention and hiring of Oakland’s first-ever Chief of Violence Prevention, Guillermo Cespedes, in acknowledgement that we cannot arrest our way out of this situation, but must also use a public health approach and community-led strategies to reduce violence and criminal activity
• Continued empowerment of Neighborhood Councils (aka – Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils or NCPCs) where neighbors work in partnership with OPD and other city agencies to address ongoing problems in their neighborhoods. In District 6 we have 8 different neighborhood Councils – see the listing at the bottom of this letter.
• Implementing a new gun crimes intelligence center (in partnership with a Silicon Valley Startup) that recovered more than 800 firearms last year.
In addition to these activities, my office is taking additional steps to address the public safety and crime related concerns and anxiety felt by many in our community.
Continuing to escalate incidents/ issues to OPD when we are alerted by residents that response has been slow or insufficient. To do so, we need the police report number so that we can reference the specific situation. (NOTE: In non-emergency situation you can report a crime online or in person /by phone)
Planning a Public Safety Townhall meeting in District 6, tentatively scheduled for February 8, location to be determined. OPD will be present and the Townhall will include a “back to basics” approach to crime prevention that empowers neighbors through neighborhood watch and environmental design to reduce neighborhood crime. Stay tuned.
Continuing to attend house parties and other gatherings hosted by neighbors to discuss neighborhood-specific issues, including neighborhood crime and public safety. If you are interested in hosting a “House Party With The Councilmember” in your neighborhood, please email the District 6 office at [email protected]
Requesting from OPD a breakdown of recent crime data for each of the District 6 police beats – including theft and auto related crimes so that my office has a better understanding of trends that would help justify increased resources versus other areas.
Supporting neighbors as they explore other neighborhood safety measures to take as they work together to reduce crime in their neighborhoods by starting a neighborhood watch group, installing security cameras and registering them with OPD, or other means.
We cannot become complacent with any level of crime in our communities, and I am optimistic that the many efforts being conducted across the city of Oakland and specifically in District 6 will make a difference. I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and to continue making reports and passing on camera footage to OPD. Also, it is important for neighbors to become involved in their Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) meetings. See below for meeting days, times, and contact information.
Yours in Service,