Oakland, the 2nd Most Murderous City in California Behind Compton
Oakland is the second most murderous city in the state of California behind Compton. The SF Chronicle is running a series of articles about murder in Oakland, why and how it is happening and stories behind some of the murders and victims. According to the Chronicle, in the last 5 years 557 people have been murdered in Oakland. The murder victims seem to be known and targeted by the murderers and an undercurrent of drug dealing, drug gangs and families, revenge and petty arguments seem to play parts in the city’s high murder rate.
It is painful to read stories about the plight of Oakland and what is happening to young men growing up in a dysfunctional world, but hopefully journalism like this can push more serious work needed to help stop the violence in Oakland.
Although I’ve never been the victim of violent crime in Oakland, I’ve witnessed violent crime in Oakland. I saw a woman attacked just outside the West Oakland BART station and her purse taken. I’ve also experienced my fair share of nuisance crime. My car has been broken into four times parking near the West Oakland BART station and subsequently I don’t park there anymore. Our immediate next door neighbor had their house burglarized. They also had a car stolen. More recently there was a home invasion robbery at another home on our street. I woke up one Sunday morning with an Oakland SWAT team and dozens of cops in the street in front of my house.
I’ve volunteered for the past 10 years with an organization that raises money for at risk youth. Much of the money raised goes to help poor kids in Oakland and other Bay Area communities by providing them youth programs and scholarships for private school when the public schools have failed them. Although it’s just a small way to try and make the situation better, at least it’s something.
I’m not sure really what the answer is though. I’m not sure how you break generational cycles of violence and poverty to break through and clean up the streets of Oakland. It’s hard and it’s heartbreaking.
Oakland has so much going for it. I was optimistic about the town when Jerry Brown was mayor. Hopeful that some of his youth programs around military school and the arts might have an impact. Hopeful that something could be done about the crime.
Here is an interactive map of where people have been killed over the past 5 years in Oakland. Oakland, a Plague of Killing coverage here.