Oakland's Fruitvale District improving

March 18, 2008 12:26:35 PM PDT
An Oakland city leader says a crime crackdown in the Fruitvale District was a success, and the neighborhood is improving.

The president of the Oakland City Council says a gang crackdown in a troubled neighborhood is working.

The anti-crime plan in the Fruitvale District of Oakland also included other city services to offer counseling to troubled teens and physically clean up the area.

This is all part of a plan to try to overhaul Oakland's Fruitvale area. The plan here was to cut down crime, and now three months later they are coming out and saying that those involved in this anti-crime project say it's off to a good start.

The anti-crime project set out to cut crime and the people of Oakland's Fruitvale District feel safer.

"There are a lot of people the criticized it, but I can tell you, you see the ups, you see the downs and nobody can put the finger on why. Nationally, crime is going up and I think we have the responsibility to react," said Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente.

Oakland councilman Ignacio De La Fuente launched the three-month effort and police, city workers and citizens took hope of Fruitvale.

"There was not a gang related shooting as a result of this project in the hotspot areas. This is a direct relation to bringing all the city's resources together," said Captain Ryan Orozco from the Oakland Police Department.

Besides a police presence, parks were fixed, more lighting installed, job fairs were held and Kevin Grant talked to kids in Gangs.

"All of them were giving me a call and saying 'Kevin, there is a group of kids who are hanging out from 4 to 6 because that seems to be the time, so we are there. From 11 till 1:00, we've been out there until two, three in the morning addressing homicides. We go to the shrine, and we humbly listen to the energy in the air," said Kevin Grant from Measure "Y" Outreach.

Not everyone supported the progress. Ignacio De La Fuente's main competitor in the upcoming election Mario Juarez, brought people in to challenge De La Fuente's actions.

"Then all of the sudden he wants to pull together all of the city resources, and appears as if he's doing something. Well three months against 16 years, we think it is way too little, way too late," said Mario Juarez supporter Kathy Neal.

De La Fuente's only response to that comment was to say it is election season. Now as far as the anti-crime project in Fruitvale, members say it doesn't end today. In fact, they will continue monthly meetings and they've also received additional funding through the city to continue the projects and the accomplishments they've already started.