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Hundreds of Oakland, California, residents demanded the city take action on the rising crime rates during a Tuesday community safety meeting with local officials at Oakland Technical High School, with one resident saying they are the “victims of a failed progressive utopia.”
City Council Member Dan Kalb, the meeting’s organizer, was joined on a panel by Oakland Police Captain Jeffrey Thomason and Kentrell Killens, the interim chief of Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention.
Various residents shared their stories of how violence has impacted their everyday lives, from coming home to shopping at local outlets. Turnout for the event was reportedly over 500 individuals.
At one point, one local woman asked the crowd how many of them had been assaulted, and dozens raised their hands in the affirmative.
This is how angry people were at the meeting last night. This is in perhaps the most left-wing city in the country. pic.twitter.com/qDxvNWYggm
— Leighton 明 Woodhouse (@lwoodhouse) May 31, 2023
Several of the residents spoke about the violent attacks in the city that have occurred against women.
“It’s all women,” one resident said as she recounted her violent attack outside of her North Oakland home. “Two kids beat the shit of me in front of my house last Monday night. Down on the pavement. Punching me, kicking me, dragging me through the street.”
She mentioned that a teenage boy body-slammed her and tried to steal her purse and then was then aided in the assault by a teenage girl.
“They did not get my purse. I have lungs. And my neighbors heard me and they came out,” she added. “I’m almost 60 years old. I’m one of the old women that just got taken down. And it’s happening everywhere.”
Local business owners spoke about how the rise in crime is impeding their ability to earn a living safely.
“I don’t want to have to get threatened with sexual violence when I go to work,” said Louise Rafkin, owner of a martial arts studio that recently saw a mentally ill individual set up camp nearby. “I don’t want my children to see this as a normal behavior from an individual on the street.”
“He’s been naked. He’s masturbated in front of them. He’s urinated in front of them. And there’s nothing I’m told the police can do,” Rafkin added.
“I’ve had my wife in the building when people crashed a car through the front door. She was able to escape out the back, fortunately, unharmed,” said Bob Tuck, a local business owner who is searching to relocate his family business that has operated in Oakland for over 100 years.” I had my son shot at 14th and Webster, a year ago November. Our employees are having their vans stolen out from underneath them while working at homes in Oakland.”
Adam Stemmler, co-owner of a local pizza parlor, highlighted the various times his staff had been held at gunpoint.
“My staff has been held at gunpoint 4 times in 6 years. The last time my staff was held at gunpoint … an Oakland native military veteran, black male from Oakland almost got shot and killed,” Stemmler told the panel.
Oakland Police Chief Darren held a press conference last week and announced that Oakland saw 100 robberies in a week, with 50 occurring in a 72-hour period. Authorities pinpointed a local robbery crew of nine children as the suspects of at least three dozen crimes.
— Leighton 明 Woodhouse (@lwoodhouse) May 31, 2023
Violent crime and robberies have spiked in Oakland over the last year.
As the San Francisco Chronicle detailed:
Violent crime in Oakland has increased 7% this year and robberies are up 12% compared to the same period last year, according to Oakland police data.
And North Oakland alone, according to the Chronicle, “has seen a 22% increase in robberies over last year — from 101 reports to 123 — and an 18% increase in violent crime, from 211 incidents to 249.”
The Oakland residents also complained about the city policy against pursuing and ticketing low-level traffic offenders, even if drivers wear ski masks while driving cars without license plates.
“It’s insane. There’s no common sense here,” one woman said. “I don’t agree with all the raucous behavior necessarily, but people are very frustrated. Women are being assaulted. Let’s not sugarcoat this.”
“This kind of brazen random violence is unheard of in my existence,” she added. “Who wants to live like this? It’s bullshit.”
25-year-old Oakland resident Sue Saito reportedly described that nine troublemaking children live in an RV outside of Kalb’s home.
“I don’t think you did know, Dan, because you never opened your fucking blinds,” Saito said. “How do you lead a city when you don’t look out your window?”
“We were so stuck and you did nothing to help us and they were right under your nose,” she added. “Open your blinds, Dan. Look out your windows.”
Kalb empathized with the audience but told them he has “limitations” that sometimes prevent him from getting city agencies to be responsive.
“I have limitations, too,” Kalb said. “When I pester a city department to do this or that or the other thing, sometimes I’m successful in getting them to do something right away. And sometimes I’m not. And I can’t tell you why that’s the case, other than that they’re backed up.”
However, the crowd reportedly interrupted Kalb when he spoke with shouts of “ineffective” or “useless.”
“When you signal to the community that the police are the problem, what do you expect?” one man asked Kalb. “All the people in this room, we are the victims of a failed progressive utopia. Your policies have failed.”
Still, Kalb promised to fight for accountability for repeat offenders.
“If they are committing these violent crimes repeatedly, then we can’t just say please don’t do this again. We have to catch them and have consequences,” Kalb said. “I will send another email letter to the district attorney talking about this very thing.”
Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.