Oakland Mayor helps combat crime

March 12, 2008 11:51:53 PM PDT
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is doing his best to convince residents that his efforts to address a surge in crime are getting results. The mayor attended a neighborhood meeting Wednesday evening.

In the Maxwell Park neighborhood of Oakland, residents say the new policing strategy seems to be working.

"I called up the police and there was a car there within ten minutes," said Stewart Slafter, a Maxwell Park resident. "Did it not used to be that way?" asked ABC7's Alan Wong. "It used to take longer," Slafter responded.

Wednesday night, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced the police chief now has more authority over unionized officers. He says the city's new policing strategy has divided the city into three, easier to manage, areas and officers will be getting to know neighbors.

"How are you experiencing geographical accountability? Are you beginning to know the officer?" asked Mayor Dellums at the meeting.

"I haven't seen my actual neighborhood policing officer yet," said Slafter.

Oakland Subway sandwich shop owner, Manoj Tripathi, says he was robbed three times in one month, so he built a protective barrier. He wants to meet his neighborhood officer now.

"You're trying to help a community and you're trying to be a part of the neighborhood, and you're trying to bring the neighborhood up, along with everything else, newer buildings and everything, and this is what you get in return?" said Tripathi.

But Mayor Dellums reminded Oakland residents the city is still about 70 officers short of full strength, and car thefts and burglaries, in the Maxwell Park area have been cut in half.

"People will begin to see the regularity and familiarity of police, so I'm saying it takes time," said Mayor Dellums.

The mayor says the pieces are now in place to make a significant dent in crime.