A small business owner who works on a stretch of Pablo Avenue in one Oakland's toughest neighborhoods told ABC7 News Thursday that she refuses to live in fear, that she belongs there. That same day, Oakland police introduced a new tool in the hopes that people who feel the same way she does will have a way to fight back against violent crime.
"I think a lot of these issues are in pockets where, if you're playing with that crowd, then that's what's going to happen," Tanya Holland told ABC7 News. And, she appears to be right. Holland opened B-Side Barbecue 10 months ago. She knows all about the violence that plagues the city but says it has avoided her and the restaurant. She thinks she knows why. "We communicate with the people in the neighborhood and they look out for us," she said.
"Communicate" is what Oakland city leaders are trying to do. "Many within our community are reluctant to come forward with information," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said. On Thursday, he led a press conference focusing on the city's efforts to reduce crime. A rash of gun violence left five people dead in less than 24 hours, raising the number of those killed by gun violence in the city of Oakland, to 90.
On Thursday, Jordan's department introduced "Tip Watch," a new tool to fight crime. "This is one of many ways that you can help reduce violent crime in Oakland," he said. Those submitting tips cannot be identified by police or the service provider. The information is encrypted and web secure. The service allows information to be sent anonymously via text messaging or email.
The county's top law enforcement official says community involvement is key and that no one should live in fear. "People are starting to feel empowered and that's a shift that I'm seeing from those in the community," Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said. "We are making people look at West Oakland a little differently and bringing economy here," Holland said.
Crime and how it's handled in the city of Oakland continues to an issue. The OPD is under scrutiny for ignoring court-ordered reforms issued after a lawsuit. Attorney suing the city have until midnight Thursday to file a motion requesting that the feds take over the police department.