Mayor Jean Quan announced a program that would target the most dangerous 100 blocks in Oakland last October. But just last month, she finally revealed which blocks these were, unbeknownst to many of the residents. The goal in this program is to make Oakland safer, and because they can’t focus on the whole of Oakland at once, focusing on the most volatile areas seems logical.
The communities named in Quan’s program make up the 100 most deadly blocks in the city. This is where murder rates are the highest. They include blocks in far-east Oakland and those around some housing projects in west Oakland.
The neighborhoods are so dangerous that children are not allowed to play outside.
It’s common for people to drive one block to the store in these neighborhoods, rather than walk and risk getting robbed or shot by a stray bullet. Residents avoid their windows for the same reasons. There’s little doubt that the residents of these communities are hoping for the best from the “100 blocks” program.
But this program isn’t just a police effort. Though increased patrols are part of the initiative, other steps will be taken to make the areas safer. Departments getting involved include: the police, libraries, Public Works, Parks Department, public housing, and schools.
According to the San Francisco Gate, efforts will include, “more job fairs, cleaning graffiti and other blight, a free summer camp for kids, extra police officers on patrol, enhanced efforts to track parolees, more block parties, and other efforts.”
The city promises the efforts won’t cost too much money because they are simply reassigning existing services, focusing them where they are needed most.
Even before Quan announced the blocks included in her program, officials state murder rates had fallen in these areas since the October program launch. Shootings have also dropped and the Public Works Department reports they have stepped up efforts like filling potholes, cleaning up graffiti and garbage, and replacing broken streetlights.
For residents, the effort marks hope for a normal community, though some are skeptical. For one woman, who lives in Fruitvale, right outside of the 100 Block area, the concern is that her neighborhood will be neglected. She was robbed at gunpoint last year in the Fruitvale BART station and her neighborhood has the highest robbery rate in the city, though few homicides.
When you live in what officials consider a “dangerous” neighborhood, you are open to police suspicion often before you do anything wrong. Your neighborhood can act as a label that flags you as a potential criminal, leaving you open to police harassment and even the potential for unlawful or borderline arrests.
If you are facing criminal charges and you believe the police unfairly targeted you, we will be happy to talk to you in a free case evaluation, and offer our help.