Oakland graduates largest Citizen's Academy class

(KGO)
August 28, 2012 2:25:19 AM PDT
There's a renewed effort in Oakland to crack down on crime by training neighbors and on Monday, the largest class ever graduated from its Citizen's Academy. This follows a particularly violent weekend where three children were struck by gunfire in three separate shootings and a 21-year-old woman was killed.

It's interesting that the ceremony for the 45 Citizen's Police Academy graduates was held t the Eastmont substation because one of the weekend's shootings, which involved a child, happened just a few blocks away.

At the scene of that shooting, the front wall and picture window are riddled with dozens of bullet holes. Inside, a 12-year-old girl was shot through the neck. Police say she has since been released from the hospital. For people in the East Oakland neighborhood, there is concern that a child was a victim, but the shooting itself doesn't seem like a surprise. "It's sad that the kids are getting involved and it's sad that we live in this kind of world. But it is what it is and you just keep your kids close to you," neighor JT Smith told ABC7 News.

On Friday, a 7-year-old boy was rushed to Children's Hospital after being grazed by gunfire. A 46-year-old man was killed in the same shooting on Sycamore Street. On Saturday night, a 14-year-old was wounded and a 21-year-old woman was killed at an East Oakland apartment complex. The two deaths add to a spike in homicides: 77 in Oakland this year, six more than this point last year.

Mayor Jean Quan addressed the weekend violence. "It's clear that these gangs and these people who are dealing drugs have no respect for the community and are shooting so randomly that they're getting innocent kids in what I call the hundred block area," she said. No arrests have been made and police are hoping for any tips from the neighborhoods that might help in these investigations.

Quan contines to push community engagement initiatives like the Citizen's Police Academy, which graduated its 33rd class Monday, the largest so far. "You know, this year we had 605 National Night Outs and part of that is that people have become more involved. So, a lot of the people in the Citizen's Academy or the Neighborhood Crime Watch hosted those parties and that shows that the city is continuing to organize," Quan said.

45 residents completed the 14-week course. The aim is to give people an up close and personal look at police work and encourage them to work closer with officers.


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