The city of Oakland laid off 80 police officers last week in an effort to help with the $30.5 million budget deficit. The result—more crimes will go unreported and unsolved. As the city encourages people to file their own reports and tells them police won’t be responding to many non violent calls, faith in the city to protect them from crime is at a new low.
One officer is reported in the San Francisco Gate as saying “With current levels of staffing, we are unable to respond to many lower priority calls.” The city states officers will no longer be sent out to most nonviolent crimes. Now, citizens will need to file their own reports, either online or in person.
Of course the city is cautious and states it wants to know about all of the crimes, regardless of whether or not they send someone out. My guess, however, is very few people will be filing their own reports, leading to fewer crimes being reported, a skewed view of the crime rate, and certainly no positive effect on the public’s trust of the police.
The move isn’t completely new, however. For the past few years you could go online and report non violent property offenses. However, until now you could also have an officer come out.
Some citizens interviewed for the Gate article expressed their own dissatisfaction with police response even prior to the change. “I kept calling and calling and no one would get back to me” one is reported as saying. Although the city states it will pursue viable leads if the suspect is known, this particular citizen supplied police with a name yet nothing was done.
Perhaps the most shocking criminal activity the city now wants reported online is restraining order violations. This is an interesting addition considering the likelihood of these cases to end disastrously.
When the city simply can’t afford to really protect its citizens, it’s a bad day. In a country where distrust of the police is at a high, feeling confident in a system that’s reduced to paperwork rather than protection is near impossible. Despite this, the system will go one, prosecuting those property crimes that are easily solved and letting many others fall by the wayside.
If you are facing criminal charges, whether it be for theft or for a violent crime—I may be able to help. Despite the seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards property crimes in Oakland, they are still prosecuted heavily in court.
Contact our attorneys today to discuss the details of your criminal case.