Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oakland Does Have a Crime Problem

I have changed my mind. Vsmoothe and an anonymous commenter showed me some better statistics. Oakland is worse than Philly. Oakland is worse than almost everywhere.

Fortunately, someone has already done what I was going to sit down and do myself, which is to compare Oakland to neighboring cities, and similar-sized California cities. And we look terrible there too.

What I would also like to see is these same stats but going back further. When did Oakland start to pull away from the other cities? How and why? Which parts of the city contribute disproportionately, and have they become crime areas in parallel, or at different times? The elephant in this discussion is race. It's 2009, we have a black president, and we still have a chronic issue with economic disparity and crime in black neighborhoods; the time to tiptoe around this subject is over.

One overcontributor is the area around 74th and Macarthur where the shootings happened, and residents of the neighborhood have expressed frustration that this is what it's taken to wake up the rest of the city to how bad it is there. So let's use this as a silver lining to convince people that we need more cops, and we need more attention on that neighborhood. I would also ask that if you live in that neighborhood and you're reading this, talk to your friends and neighbors and convince them that "don't snitch" is killing the community.

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