Shootings put spotlight on Oakland crime

January 22, 2008 12:40:56 AM PST
An Oakland city council member says too many innocent victims are being victimized by crime. That comes after a 16-year-old girl was killed by accident. Now some leaders want immediate action.

Teens tell us their 17-year-old friend had a .357 magnum for protection, but he accidentally shot and killed his 16-year-old girlfriend at the Acorn housing complex in East Oakland. Police say he did not have a criminal record.

"I would worry about my safety too if I had got shot before," says Jabree Hunt, a friend of the shooting suspect.

"To tell you the truth, the only thing they do is shoot around here. People got killed on this block behind me. People got shot on this block, robbed and killed. This neighborhood is not no good neighborhood," says Charles Burnette, a friend of the shooting suspect.

Innocent victims are making the headlines. On January 10th in north Oakland, near Piedmont, a 10-year-old boy was paralyzed by a stray bullet during his piano lesson. In late December, Senator Don Perata was carjacked about a mile away from there.

So Mayor Ron Dellums said he would increase patrols on the street and already switched to a "neighborhood policing strategy."

"There's no cops that I know, that we know there names, that always come around here," says Hunt.

Residents say that friendly neighborhood cop hasn't shown up down at the Acorn yet, but when he or she does, they may be sporting a different attitude.

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De LaFuente says it's time to take the gloves off. "Definitely we're in a crisis mode," says De LaFuente. He's says it's time to convince the mayor to take the same aggressive measures used in Baltimore and New York.

"And use all the city ordinances and the legislation that we have to stop people that will be because of a noise ordinance or any ordinance that allows to get guns off the street," says De LaFuente.

De LaFuente also says these shakedowns will probably attract the attention of civil liberties organizations, but if it could have taken the gun out of that 17-year-old boy's hands, he says it's worth it.