Oakland residents march to 'Take back streets'

January 23, 2011 5:23:09 PM PST
One day after a deadly shooting involving Oakland school police, the city's mayor and residents took to the streets to fight overall crime.

It started Saturday night with a routine traffic stop in the Oakland Hills near Joaquin Miller Road and Butters Drive.A school district official says an officer fired into the suspect's car because he was attacking another officer with a screw driver. The officer's Kevlar vest helped protect him. A gun was also recovered in the man's car.

One day after that officer-involved fatality, community members marched in a previously-scheduled event geared toward ending violence in Oakland. About 100 people marched to the Miracles of Faith Community Church on Virginia Avenue. They marched down High Street, the street where Oakland's first murder victim of the New Year was gunned down just nine minutes into 2011.

"Save our streets! Keep the peace," the marchers chanted.

The theme is "Take back the streets, block by block." Shelia Turner's husband Preston organized one of the two groups that marched down High Street

"We believe in a community that is safe to live in, a great quality of life, where you can walk anywhere you want to walk," she told ABC7.

While some Oakland neighborhoods are not all of that now, Turner believes residents can make it that way.

"And, if just everyday folks don't get together and try to stand up, it won't get done. Police can't do it on their own. We don't have enough police," she added.

Crime statistics are down in Oakland, but relative to other cities in the country, Oakland is still one of the most crime-ridden. On Martin Luther King Boulevard at 25th street, few people that spoke to ABC7 Sunday were willing to say they would want to be part of any attempt to help the police.

"Sorry. You said the wrong thing," one man said before walking away.

A survey done by the police department showed 40 percent of those polled distrust the police.

"I don't have to call the police on anybody. If someone is doing something around my house that I don't like, I'll talk to them about it. I've been in trouble with the law myself," Roger Jackson said.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan attended Sunday afternoon's church meeting and said she is already scheduling meetings between officers and the people they are sworn to protect.

"As you know, the beat officers have been back for about a week. One of the things we're going to do is have them visit schools and have them work with the parks and rec department," she said. "I just believe in the people of Oakland. I believe we can turn around any neighborhood if we get together."

Quan says she is optimistic and there is some data to be optimistic about. There have been 10 homicides in the Oakland so far this year, but the murder rate in Oakland has dropped every year since 2006.