California residents furious with Oakland officials over increased violence: 'Can't live like this'


Residents of Oakland, California, were furious with city officials on Tuesday night, during a meeting about the increased crime and violence taking place in the city.

Nearly 500 people reportedly attended the meeting, which was called for by District One City Council member Dan Kalb. Joining Kalb on stage were interim Oakland Police Department Captain Jeff Thomason and interim Chief of the Department of Violence Prevention Kentrell Killens.

Just last week, three girls and six boys between 12–17 years of age were arrested for nearly three dozen robberies that terrorized the community.

Citywide, robberies have increased 7% from the same period last year, Oakland police statistics revealed. Authorities said they are alarmed to see more juveniles involved in crime.

Earlier this month, the city saw 100 robberies in a week, with 50 taking place over a single weekend, according to Oakland police.

The robberies that happened included acts like carjackings, shootings and assaults.

The moment Kalb began to speak on Tuesday, members of the crowd shouted profanities to express their discontent with the crime taking place in their community.

The council member said he had just come from a budget workshop at City Hall, and the current version of the budget shows over the next two years, a total of six police academies and an increase in the number of officers.

But with that, he said, there will be a freeze in paid positions and less money for overtime, meaning a reduction in funding over the next two years.

"Sounds like a bad idea," someone shouted from the crowd.

Kalb did not disagree with the man, saying the budget has not been adopted yet, and the reduction in funds for police was a concern for him.

Thomason tried to address the increase in robberies over the last few months, telling the audience about the nine juveniles who committed 32 robberies.

Crowd members shouted that the juveniles were back on the street and wanted to know why.

The captain said the department has been staffing overtime officers to try and prevent the robberies, and while it may not be stopping the crimes, he is hopeful the additional officers will be able to catch some of the crews committing the robberies.

Killens also spoke before the mic was handed to the audience. The interim chief of the department of violence prevention said he shares the community's pain and suffering, as he himself has been a victim.

The crowd quickly shouted their boos as soon as Killens said the common factor of the people breaking into cars are that they are hurting inside.

The Department of Violence Protection provides housing and services to those interested in receiving the services, which is the agency’s way to try to turn a bad into a good.

Kalb told the audience he has spoken to several police chiefs over the years who said police alone cannot reduce crime. Instead, it must be supplemented with other programs and services to be successful.... (Read more)

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