They are coming. The people involved made it very clear that they plan to recruit enough subscribers to start private patrols no matter what the rest of us think about it. They considered the other concerns a “different meeting”.

This Thursday night a meeting was called in the the same church where we hold our Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on the subject of private security patrols.

The room had over 100 people in it and only 4 of us were African American. A couple of us were Asians, including the woman who led the meeting, and a couple of us South Asians.

As you might suspect, the meeting started with an intro from the private patrol proponent and a presentation from our 2nd police district police lieutenant that both focused on getting the bad guys.

As the conversation opened up we learned a lot of things including that a lot of the people in the room had serious misgivings against private police patrolling our streets.

Those in favor of the patrols kept talking about “criminals” and crime abatement. The word “youth” was never used, nor was the word “black”. Neither group spoke to the fact that most of those arrested for burglary and robbery in Oakland are black and brown youth. Seemed sort of like talking about sex without discussing gender or genitals.

The first thing I learned was about the services themselves. Bay Alarm offers a service that does not cost much, and offers at least one patrol to pass by your home each day. Others cost more and offer more. Some services are armed and some are not.

Hiring private patrols is a private affair. The subscribers do it and then their homes are patrolled. This requires no approval from anyone.

That includes hiring armed private patrol officers. If you get enough subscribers together, you can put an armed guard on our Oakland streets patrolling from subscriber home to subscriber home. Somebody out there certifies and regulates these private security companies, not our city.

As people spoke some other things came out.

First and foremost, that there is no evidence that private patrols reduce crime. I thought of this as a very important point. Does it even reduce crime for the subscribers? Sounds like something I would like to know before shelling out a monthly subscriber fee. But we did not get to discus that much. This meeting was to talk about doing it, not to talk about if it should be done.

In discussion circles I made the point that we would not even be holding this meeting if the Oakland Police and Oakland programs were not such an obvious failure. People pro and con agreed with that.

A few people made the point that we are inviting the conditions that lead to racial profiling. Some questions were asked about what happens when someone gets hurt or killed. On my post-it I wrote “ANOTHER TRAYVON MARTIN” and placed it on one of the comment boards under “concerns”. I was not the only one with that concern.

I really doubt that some private home patrols of unarmed security will matter much one way or another. The top crimes in our area are muggings and breaking into cars. I have a Bay Alarm account for my business, and I know how little that can do.

I think that the bigger picture is the disintegration of another part of government. We have this in the schools with the rush to private schools and charter schools. The public schools will get left behind.

Are we headed this way for our police and social services? If they fail at crime will the rush to private security take away interest in fixing our police and their relationship to the community? How long before homeowners start to ask for security vouchers?

At the very best, it will mean better security for those that pay for it and less for those who can not or will not buy in. Don’t we already have a system by which we all pitch in and hire people to keep us all safe?

Finally the meeting broke down to some hard words between those who would like to do something about our social problems versus those who want to do something about crime RIGHT NOW. The concerns about profiling were sharp and sharply played down by others.

The organizer then declared that they have 50 people so far, and as soon as they have 100 subscribers they will move forward. This meeting for her was mostly to take in community concerns with the aim of choosing a private security firm.

The four African Americans in the room, (other than the two in uniform carrying guns) were middle aged women. They never spoke.

On my way out I chatted with an OPD officer who declared that he only had one more year to go and planned to retire. He was younger than I am, and I am 55. Besides letting us know that he lives outside of Oakland, he told us how he plans to get out of California after he retires. His idea of a good place to go was Idaho because there one is allowed to have all the weapons one would wish.

I left the meeting stunned again by how much is wrong here in Oakland around how we deal with our at risk youth and our community as a whole.

P.S. Many of the people who spoke at the meeting about their fear of being singled out and treated like they do not belong by these private security guards were telling us that they are trans gender. Normally I tend to think about black and brown youth when I think of who gets profiled, but these folk spoke to another truth. From what I understand, the numbers back up what they say.

There are some good comments on the blogspot posting of this editorial.
http://donmacleay.blogspot.com/2013/10/private-patrols-in-temescal.html

About The Author

20 Responses

  1. Jonatton Yeah?

    Nice post and cheers for a good summary of the meeting.

    My only issue is the same issue I’ve seen in the rest of the posts on here about private patrols – heavy on critique, light on an alternative. The fact is, NOBODY wants private patrols; it’s a band-aid patch on a compound fracture of a social problem. But what else are people supposed to do? Pump more money into community programs that haven’t done much up until this point, are laden with corruption, and won’t do anything in the short term?

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  2. Tom

    I appreciate the article Don and I do see your point. However, as another poster mentioned there’s nothing left to do accept find available help to protect our neighborhoods and communities. The new young class moving into Oakland are being profiled as easy targets by young black men.

    A year ago I was walking my dog and passed three 18 year old black males. They looked like very nice young men. Nicely dressed. casual. A block later they ran up to me and put a gun to my head and went through my pockets. They did it in a way that told me they do this every day and they could have cared less if they shot me. Now, I ask you to go online and find the Oakland police scanner and listen to it for one hour. This is what you will hear:

    Robbery, description 3 black males in black hoodies
    Attempted robbery, black male running in black hoody
    Car break in, black male, running
    Shooting, 3 black males running from car

    So, as a white male with 10 years of living in East Oakland, I now racial profile young black men. If I see 2 black youths 14 or over, I remove myself immediately because I know from experience, reading the news, or listing to the scanner, that there is a chance they are going to pull a gun on me. I’m deeply saddened that I have to do this. I will also add that my older black neighbors the exact same thing and they have told me they do this. They are just as nervous around many of these kids.

    I would love to hear a straight answer from a black person like yourself as to how the Oakland police or people like myself are not suppose to racial profile young black men when all you hear on the scanner and read in the news is crime happening by young black males? It’s impossible.

    The answer is that more profiling needs to take place. White people moving Oakland need to be very aware when in the vicinity of black youth. This is what’s going to keep them safe. White people moving into Oakland need to be aware that there are black youths targeting them because they think they have phones and money or whatever.

    I don’t have an answer other than to say that the way to keep safe is to actually profile. I wish I didn’t have to think this way.

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  3. R2D2II

    No one seems to get it that a large measure of Oakland’s social problems are due to a failed government. A failed government which continues in office because we keep electing the same people year after year to the Council (and in Quan’s case to mayor). These electeds are people whose work experience consists of serving on nonprofit boards or working as staff to Council members. They don’t know how to think creatively; they con’t know what good policymaking is; they don’t understand management and they cannot lead.

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  4. eaugust

    I agree that the first and foremost problem is with the failure of the City, the Mayor and the OPD to do the jobs THEY were all hired to do. I also agree that splintering off and trying to police ourselves, block-by-block rather than holding the Mayor’s feet to the fire is a terrible idea that is making a big problem worse. Instead of holding contentious neighborhood meetings where the only outcomes are divisiveness and resentment, maybe we should all come together as residents, hold a meeting at the Mayor’s office, and demand the Mayor and the rest be held responsible to patrol our public streets, like they’re paid to do. Anyone who has had a conversation with, or heard the Mayor speak about this issue will likely attest to her indifference on the subject. And why shouldn’t she be? All this attention to these campaigns is certainly taking away some of the heat on her, isn’t it? She appears quite content to have us duke it out and pay for additional “security” while she continues to fumble the ball. I would LOVE to see some of the organizers of these campaigns (several of whom have extremely strong ties to our city’s government) use their resources, time and energy to bring ALL of us together and demand the city manage this problem.

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  5. Tim

    re: no talk of black and brown youth, if it had been the other way around, you can fairly easily imagine the criticism – “We should be talking about criminals, not black and brown youth and assuming they are the people that will be targeted by these patrols. Judge people by their actions, not by their skin color.”

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  6. Tim

    Upon further reflection my comment was rather cheap concern trolling and I’d like to rescind it.

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  7. Oakie

    Don’s post is a textbook example of the petrified political dogma of the 60’s identity politics that still dominate the Oakland zeitgeist and should be held responsible for making our city so crime ridden. They have controlled all the political power here and no progress will happen until we throw the bums out.

    Counting people at a meeting by race…..ominously pointing out the 4 black women who did not speak up (implying, I guess, that they were intimidated by the Institutional Racist ether in the room?)….the problem is profiling (again that old IR boogy man) not that way way too many people in our city are choosing to own guns, carry them loaded, walk up to strangers and threaten to do bodily harm to them unless they turn over their possessions.

    These frames ARE the problem. It is time for moral clarity.

    If we want to live in a city with a normal level of crime, those who have controlled this city for the last 30 years must be opposed and we must take the power from them with our votes. When there are enough Liberals Who Have Been Mugged to outvote the sagging remnants of the 60’s Berkeley scene (who have learned NOTHING in the intervening years), that can happen.

    It is precisely what happened in New York in the early 90’s. Too bad so many people had to die on our streets over these last 20 years before we were ready to wake up. I believe that number is a little over 2,000 human beings.

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  8. In oakland 17 years

    You know what, one of the many things I hate about the Bay Area is the cry for the government to stay out of our business but then blaming the city problems on the lack of government or lack of police. It’s not the government or the OPD’s job to raise the children of Oakland (or any city for that matter). Character BEGINS AT HOME. If people are not going to take personal responsibility for the children they bring into this world and educate them to be people of character and citizenship and then those children go out and cause problems to the greater community….then the greater community has every right to use their own money to protect themselves. I am all for social service programs to help those who truly cannot help themselves (the mentally ill, the abandoned, the disabled who cannot help themselves). I am not for social services that have to parent and patrol unruly youths (and adults) who choose crime over character and personal responsibility.

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  9. Jakem

    I recognize the name Don Macleay because he’s got my vote for city council before. I don’t know his whole ancestry or anything, but he’s white not black.

    In general, I’m sorry for what you went through. Do what you need to feel safe as long as you’re not hurting anybody. But I tend to think that institutional profiling by police can deepen the problem because so many young men of color get harassed by police that it (1) leads to unnecessary incarceration where people become entrenched in violent criminal attitudes and (2) it makes it harder for police to help people because nobody wants to talk to them.

    When we think about how to deal with this robbery problem we should remember that while being robbed is dangerous, emotionally traumatizing and financially costly, being stopped by police can be physically and emotionally scarring too (and might end up costing more than a cell phone). If we ask for profiling we have to weigh the harm caused by wrongful detentions and arrests against the potential good of keeping people safe from robberies.

    I didn’t really mean to respond to your whole post, I just meant to insert a fact about the author but ended up sharing more about my thoughts on the article in general, I know the “profiling” you’re describing isn’t by police like my comment addresses

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  10. Jonatton Yeah?

    I was going to write something along those same lines, In Oakland 17 years, and I agree with you 100%. If we’re going to expect the State to take care of and essentially raise at-risk youth we have have seriously lost the plot. Parents need to raise their kids and it appears, in Oakland, there is a crisis in adequate parenting. And to put the responsibility on the greater “community” is also ridiculous. People have their own kids to raise, their own jobs to maintain, and their own rents to pay. Other people’s kids and their unruly behavior should not be their problem. The lack of personal responsibility is embarrassing.

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  11. Jakem

    Oops, First time poster, I should’ve noted that my comment was a response to Tom on’s original comment above.

    Reply
  12. used to be a local...

    My great-great grandparents, on both sides, were ALL east bay settlers. They were cherry farmers, boarding house keepers, washer women for the Barbary Coast. I grew up in San Lorenzo. I bought and refurbished my grandparent’s home in the Oakland Hills in ’05. I lived there until March ’12 when the crime just became too much. My husband and I moved out of state, to what some would say is the middle of nowhere. We have no regrets.

    But it was very difficult for me to leave, in spite of the 2 break-ins we experienced within 3 months, just before we moved. I was home for both. I don’t recommend the experience. I didn’t answer a knock at the door because I wasn’t dressed. The burglars thought they had the house to themselves and broke in through the downstairs slider. I ran to the side yard not knowing where the sound was coming from, to find a young black man crouched on the side deck talking via cell to the fellow who was going through my jewelry box downstairs. Both of us were most surprised to see the other. Luckily for me, the downstairs fellow took his leave, as did the one I was staring and screaming at. They could have easily come in and shut me up within a moment.

    The second event I walked in on. As I came in they ran out. Again, we swapped stares as the getaway car took off down the street. I had a photo of the car and the license plate that I gave the OPD. That was the last I ever heard about it. They didn’t get anything this time. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that this house had only recently been hit.

    Each time the police said I was very lucky. The location of our house is in the terraced area of the Oakland hills, where the parking is above on the street, and the living is down a story or two, where nobody, not even your neighbors can hear your calls for help. I know this, because I screamed like a crazy woman and nobody heard me. The OPD officer who responded to the call also told me, “if you do decide to arm yourself, just be sure you don’t shoot them in the back,” and “memorize this – I was in fear for my life – and say nothing else.”

    One officer chastised me for planning our move. He told me of his own burglary story down in the area close to East 14th/International. His home alarm and his neighbors learning that he was an officer of the law did the trick for him. I “shouldn’t give up” was his advice.

    So hosting a burglary twice in 3 months, on top of having my son’s car stolen out from in front (after having been broken into 2 previous times,) is normal and I should just get used to it. Add to that, my brother in law’s car being rifled through during a visit to us. ON TOP THAT when we became victims, only then did we learn that almost every other house on our street has been “hit” at one time or another. This included our next door neighbor, who said nothing of the event to us at all. This is NOT how I want to live. Why should we stay, with the promise that this will only happen again? Because it will. Home burglary in our area is an industry. It’s like watching the coyote and the sheepdog in action.

    My mother’s neighborhood in San Lorenzo is also a target area now. The MO there is home invasion. Most are elderly residents. The criminals know they won’t fight back.

    I often would look out at the city that I, my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandparents, were born in and think to myself, the only reason crime isn’t as rampant up in the hills or out in the other bedroom communities is because the criminals haven’t figured out just how easy it would be. But now they have.

    I recently received a neighborhood watch notice from one of our hill neighbors. It was a fellow who received the dreaded home alarm call from his service. He ran home from work and found his house had been ransacked during the popular burglary work hours between 9 and noon. While he was cleaning up, another “gentleman” claiming he was lost and needed directions came to the door. It was clear he was casing the house and neighborhood, looking for an easy mark. The home owner could only presume that if it hadn’t been the burglars from earlier in the morning, it would have been the “swing shift” following up.

    Additionally — If you are lucky enough to find your stolen items in a pawn shop or the flea market where they are likely to show up – you get the pleasure of buying back your own stuff.

    Alarms – do nothing.
    Cameras – do nothing, but you do get a good photo or two if you’re lucky.
    Locking your house if you’re out, or in my case – at home – does nothing.
    The police are nice enough to come, but in the end, they do nothing.
    The finger printers will come, and make a big mess for you to clean up, but in the end, again it does nothing.

    The only houses that haven’t been hit yet have big scary sounding dogs. Because there are so many easy marks out there, they take their pick of those that will not cause any disturbance? Perhaps.

    If we still had to live there, I would definitely contribute to a private patrol, but you’d have to have one per street, focused solely on your street alone, up and down, back and forth, walking and driving. Door knocking, community building. That might help. The criminals depend on the fact that your neighbors won’t respond to a car alarm or house alarm for fear of being hurt. That fear is their insurance policy.

    They depend on the lack of community to give them the wide berth they need to get in and out with your treasured possessions. In some cases, neighbors have admitted to watching them do it. They depend on you looking the other way. They depend on your fear.

    A visual patrol, even unarmed, knocking on doors, getting to know the neighborhood, introducing you to each other when necessary, watching what’s going on, these sort of activities will push them off to the next quiet street or neighborhood.

    This is not the bay area of my family’s history. And yes, it was extremely hard to leave, but neither is it how I choose to live anymore. So very sad, but so very true.

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  13. R2D2II

    Oakie is certainly right about the divisive effects of ideology and dogma in Oakland. It seems to me that functional leadership is the force that can overcome habitual divisiveness and bring people together so action becomes feasible to solve problems rather than blame others. The blame game is very big in Oakland, perhaps especially among our elected officials. Much easier to blame others than to take real responsibility on one’s self and actually do something useful.

    Regarding social programs that are likely to be useful in Oakland, there are some good model programs which are especially appropriate. Early intervention in families, single-parent or otherwise is the key. Where there is family dysfunction and a dysfunctional social environment due to excessive violence, children can easily be traumatized so that they are never capable of the learning they need and cannot be expected to perform well in school or in society as a whole. Since 1989 the U.S. military has had a very effective program for early intervention with families (military families are always under stress similar to families in Oakland’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods). Parents are given effective instruction in caring for their infants in ways that minimize the effects of a traumatic environment. Such programs were started back in the 1970s in Baltimore. Some of Oakland’s extensive social programs may be useful, but many, if not most, simply cannot work. You cannot expect traumatized teenagers to get any benefit from a couple of hours in a “how to be a good student” class–that’s much of what Measure Y does, and it’s a waste of resources.

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  14. Erica

    “the meeting broke down to some hard words between those who would like to do something about our social problems versus those who want to do something about crime RIGHT NOW.”

    That division and that “either-or” framing is really the heart of the problem. We need social programs to solve deep-seated issues long-term AND we need emergency intervention to deal with the explosion of armed robbery and the fact that people don’t feel safe in their homes.

    To “In oakland 17 years”: I get where you’re coming from. I see a lot of bad/nonexistent parenting, and I think any person who chooses violence and robbery needs to be held responsible without excuses. But ultimately I’m less interested in assigning blame than in what will pragmatically reduce crime. Providing teenagers with mentoring, after-school activities and a decent education is more effective long term than cops, and a lot cheaper than locking them up for years later. Do I wish (some) parents were raising their kids right and not leaving it to the State? Yes. But the reality is that if the State doesn’t interrupt the cycle of poverty and violence no one will, and we either have to pay at the beginning to try to give people a chance, or pay later in burglaries, assaults, and prison costs.

    On the other hand I see a lot of demonization and stereotyping of people for wanting to create some basic level of personal safety in their neighborhoods in the face of the City’s failure. There is this idea that the only reason people will care about solving Oakland’s problems is if they are personally afraid for their lives and as soon as a security patrol comes along everyone will just disengage. That’s cynical and it’s wrong – if that were true no one from a safe neighborhood would ever get involved in politics or activism. You can want to change politics and invest in long-term solutions for the City, and still support an emergency bandage for the bleeding RIGHT NOW. Blaming and shaming people for not being willing to wait years for what should be a basic right of personal safety, or minimizing the trauma of being attacked at gun point, is not going to win anyone over to a reform campaign.

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  15. Marc

    I moved to the Bay Area some 30 years ago. I’ve lived in SF, Mt View, Sausalito, and Palo Alto. When I got married and we decided to raise a family, we ended up in Oakland, despite the fact that we could have afforded to buy in any of those other places. Why? Aside from the money saved (thanks to the perception that Oakland was plagued by crime), I wanted to live someplace and raise our child where there were black people from all walks of life around. Because, I was getting tired of living in places where everyone from the police to nosy neighbors could question my presence because I happened to be a 20 or 30 something black male back then.

    We’ve now lived in this house for over 15 years, the neighborhood has gone since gone somewhat upscale, but it’s no Rockridge. We’ve had our share of crime here over the years, we’ve never personally had our house broken into, nor has anyone in my family been robbed on the street, but it does happen, and we know we’re not immune. But, the one thing I’ve noticed is that crime in this area ebbs and flows with changes in the economy and housing patterns. There were break-ins and armed robberies on the street 20 years ago, and there still are, I doubt the numbers have changed all that much, if anything, they’ve dropped.

    A few weeks ago, one of the newer neighbors was robbed at gunpoint of his smartphone and a small amount of cash at 9:30 am on a weekday. Flyers went up describing the robbers as two black males in their 20s or 30s wearing hoodies. I know who put up the flyers, and I know he meant well, but there are plenty of black males in their 20s and 30s, many with hoodies, who live in the neighborhood, in some cases raising families, and aren’t running around robbing people. I even have a few hoodies, but since I’m in my 50s now, hopefully most people can tell the difference.

    Then we started receiving phone calls from concerned neighbors who wanted to talk about paying for a security patrol. I know, and understand where they’re coming from, but I simply can’t agree. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all being played. Please note as described in the meeting above, that for the low price of $25 or so each month, if you and 100 of your neighbors sign up, a security company car will drive by your house once per weekday. Please explain to me what, exactly, that will deter? And, the OPD benefits from this, as well, a neighborhood that has hired a security service likely won’t be bugging them for more frequent police patrols.

    When someone can demonstrate an actual drop in crime rates due to these services, compared to similar areas that do not, I might be willing to listen. But, as of now, it’s all magical thinking. Frankly, as far as I can see, nothing much is going to change until some serious police reform takes place, just boosting the numbers to 800 or even 1200 isn’t an answer. I am troubled by some of the things I’ve heard my own council member say (I’m in District 2), if this ends up being more about making certain areas of the city safe for “white” people at the expense of poorer areas, we will only make matters worse.

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  16. Swimmy44

    I find it horrible that young black men are profiled BUT I have learned that I must do it myself. I live in a “nice” neighborhood, not Temescal, and 95% of all crimes here no matter what kind are committed by what is later described as young black males, from teen to 30s, dressed in athletic wear i.e. hoodies. The few times I have observed suspicious behavior – all black males. The more than a few times I observed non-suspicious behavior – young teens walking together (black and hispanic) down the block or alone and felt they were not suspicious, they were later identified as breaking into homes around my corner from the backyards. What am I supposed to do? I feel that the OPD should be “fixed” i.e. get rid of dead wood, hire some less jaded folks, and double the numbers. I am not in favor of private funding of any social entity – PD, schools, whatever – my only child is an OUSD teacher in East Oakland doing what she can against the odds. It’s a sorry state of affairs for a wonderful city. We have been here only a few years and plan to stay – if we all survive.

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  17. shoshonej

    Oakie: BRAVO! You’re great and I hope we meet. I agree that the problem lies in the categories Black and White. Yes, Black people profile white people. Yes, White people profile black people. But at the end of the day, we’re all immigrants passing (except for natives).

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, give your family tree a shake. You never know what’ll fall out!

    Tom,

    Thank You for your moving testimony. It is very direct and honest, and I appreciate that!

    Reminds me of that famous neoconservative line, “a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.” Bravo!

    Sometimes it feels like Oakland is just a bunch of people trading stories about being mugged. But it’s always interesting and sometimes moving to hear.

    I want to focus, very briefly, if possible, on your quote:

    “I would love to hear a straight answer from a black person like yourself…”

    I took off the rest of the quote because you should not talk to anyone, black or otherwise, with that mode of address if you want a real response. If you want black people to tell you about race, don’t act like a cop! It’s nobody’s job but yourself to know about this fiction of color that we call race. Go and watch all of James Baldwin’s lectures on YouTube, and you’ll learn something!

    It’s not black people’s job to explain crime (except to one another and to themselves)! Crime is something very truly co-created by every human being who’s ever wished to be safe, or feared. To lots of people, being dangerous is being safe. Baldwin used to say that therein lies the problem. “Safety” comes from a 15c. Middle French word that means “Chest for keeping valuables.” So that means it’s a relatively recent, European concept. That does not make it wrong, but it puts it in context. Safety is risk-minimization. Safety is securities and investments, not morality.

    I know this is abstract. But I really do appreciate what you wrote, because it makes me think. The way to keep safe is not to profile. There is no way to keep safe. No matter how many pennies you pinch, somebody is going to spend that gold in your chest, or those bills in your mattress. It might be your profligate grandniece and her new husband, or it might be you for any number of unforeseen reasons, or it might even be an anonymous con artist. But as long as you recognize that fact, you will enjoy the gold in your chest and not live in fear of losing it.

    Best,
    SJ

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  18. Aztec

    Marc,

    The program isn’t for the security patrol to drive by your house once per week day? Where did you get that information? You are just making an assumption for how these things work so it will fit into your pre-existing view or the world.

    This is how it works:

    – You have a dedicated patrol officer or two for your “district” which is a collection of homes within a neighborhood. A district might be one block or a couple blocks

    – He gets to know you and your neighbors. The neighbors get to know him.

    – He will typically drive around as well as walk around on foot. If you live in a more flat area, he may walk more. If you are in a hilly area he may drive more. It is definitely not a quick drive by once a day. As you point out, that would be useless

    If you were open minded and took the time to understand what Maxwell-Park is doing or Oakmore is doing, then you could formulate an opinion based on facts. You clearly don’t have the details and you are just jumping to the conclusion you are already pre-disposed to.

    Let’s address more of the “it won’t work” claim…

    – Before I lived here, I lived in another state. We had a rash burglaries, home invasions, car thefts, etc. The neighborhood was pretty diverse with a mixture of African Americas, Asians, Mexicans, Whites, etc. I’d describe it as middle-to-upper middle class. Some neighbors got upset and hired private patrol. We didn’t pay cause we didn’t think “rent a cops” would make a different. WE WERE DEAD WRONG. Much to our surprise, crime in the neighborhood dropped like a rock. It was not Oakland but it was an urban setting. Funny thing, and this is what kills me about Oakland, there wasn’t a single person worried about racial profiling. He is Oakland, we jump to race first. The lady who led the charge for our neighborhood was black and she just wanted her family to be safe.

    – Oakmore has some districts that have been at it enough to have initial data. All the information is available from various crime mapping websites. The reduction in burglaries in the districts with patrols has been dramatic.

    – Many of these neighborhoods are approaching this as something to try and then determine if there is a reduction in crime. Why don’t the skeptics just wait to see what the data says. If it is like Oakmore or where I used to be then people will keep paying cause there is value. If crime doesn’t go down or gets worse then some people won’t pay. Unless you really believe the 400 households in Oakmore paying for this is full of idiots. Do you think that?

    Lastly, there is all this talk about why your neighbors can hire this, and how you don’t have a say, and who is regulating these companies…

    Again, if the skeptics would actually spend 10-15 minutes using Google or Yahoo to research this, then they’d realize the following:

    – These firms are heavily regulated. You can actually go online and check the license for a firm and a security guard.

    – There is a CA state law outlining the definition of a private security guard, what they can’t do, what they can do, etc. Again, its online, go find it and read the law.

    – If there is any physical altercation or if a firearm is discharged. A report needs to be filled. There is a committee to oversee these companies appointed by the Governor, who reviews this stuff. They can suspect companies, individual security guards, revoke their licenses, fine them, etc. Again, its all online.

    – There is mandatory training for firearms, for batons, etc. Again, its all online.

    – There is a mechanism for citizens to file a complain (its on the state website) to report any bad behavior by a security guard. Again, its all online.

    So while I can appreciate folks having differing opinions, what annoys me is how few people spend the time to research and educate themselves on the facts BEFORE formulating an opinion.

    Frankly, I don’t see why this is such a big deal in Oakland. It was completely not controversial where I used to live before. It exists is neighborhoods all over the country. It has existed for a long long time. Why do people in Oakland go nuts over this?

    Aztec

    Reply
  19. Hillgirt Heights

    I believe Oakmore said in their presentation at another meeting last week that crime dropped 89% with the start of the patrols, and 33% in adjacent neighborhoods abutting them.

    Reply

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