Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oakland Crime Alert

As many of you have heard via the facebook, within the past year there have been three shootings in front of my house, and two others very nearby. And that's not even including that one time when SWAT was camped out at the Walgreens a stones throw from my bungalow--I didn't hear the shooting that day, the day the man barricaded himself in a house somewhere near my home.

Things have gotten so rough the cops are calling it a "crime tsunami  instead of a "crime wave." OPD is grossly understaffed, and whatever criticisms we may have of the Department, they are simply overwhelmed and every day they have to triage their calls. Response times are up. All this results in the CROOKS BECOMING EVER MORE BRAZEN. They know the cops are overwhelmed.

Below are highlights of what I have read and heard lately, first- and second-hand reports from friends, acquaintances  shop-keeps, strangers on the street (yes, I talk to everyone....well, almost), and neighborhood watch groups.

Armed Robberies in Rockridge, Temescal, and near MacArthur BART

Neighborhood watch groups near BART in Temescal have reported armed robberies in the morning, targeting commuters walking to BART, about every other day or so in recent months.

Folks getting held up at gun point on or near Telegraph in Temescal in broad daylight. Phones are a big attractor, apparently.

MOs include:
  • All robberies I have heard about include the use of a gun. 
  • Two guys on foot approaching from two directions and cornering the victim.
  • Guy jumping out of a waiting car then fleeing in the car.
  • A man entering a cafe on College Ave in Rockridge, targeting a women in the back of the cafe, pulling a gun and hitting her in the back of the head and taking her computer. 
  • Vehicles following folks home and robbing them when they exit their cars. 
Home Invasion Robberies

A friend of mine was recently a victim of an attempted home invasion robbery at 11pm in Temescal. Her dogs chased off one guy and she found the other guy in her hallway. Her two dogs were going nuts and she ordered the man to leave. He hesitated and then left. The responding cops said they are averaging one to three home invasion calls a night. Cops also noted that it is not unheard of that dogs are shot in the commission of crimes in Oakland. She was very lucky.

There has also been a dramatic increase in home invasion robberies and burglaries in the Oakland Hills, most notably the Montclair District.

I share all this in the hopes that folks will be extra vigilant out there.

Consider doing the following (in addition to the obvious stuff):
  • Pay more attention! 
  • When driving home at night, if someone is walking on your street and you don't know them, take an extra spin around the block before you park and walk to your home.
  • If a car is driving behind you on your street, again, take an extra lap before you park. 
  • On foot, avoid people you don't know, especially at night, and walk with someone whenever possible.
  • If you live in Temescal and are coming home at night via BART, consider taking a cheap cab ride instead of walking. There are almost always taxis at that stand. 
  • Keep your porch lights on all night. Light is a crime deterrent. 
  • Keep your doors locked, even the back ones, even if you have dogs. 
  • Talk to your neighbors and exchange phone numbers. 
  • If you do get held up at gun point, do not hesitate. Give them your shit immediately. 
  • NEVER EVER open your door to someone you don't know. EVER! 
  • Adopt a large mean looking dog who is actually very sweet but protective. Don't name him/her Cosmo--there is already one in Oakland (and she's mine). 
If you are still reading, thanks for doing so. I'm protective by nature. And I worry. Be careful out there till the economics improve and this City of ours, hopefully, starts to recover.