7 in 10 Oakland residents feel less safe than they did 2 years ago, survey shows

Many residents say they're unhappy with the state of the city amid ongoing issues of crime, drugs, homelessness and housing cost.

Luz Pena Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Oakland residents feel less safe than they did 2 years ago: Survey
Survey shows seven in 10 Oakland residents feel less safe than they did two years ago, with their main concern being crime.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The notion that Oakland residents have been feeling unsafe now has numbers to back it up.

The data is in and the results are staggering. Three in five Oakland residents say the city is on the wrong track.

Seven in 10 Oakland residents feel less safe than they did two years ago. The main concern is crime.

"Criminals are hitting retail businesses. They are coming in. They are taking cash, they are taking property. Second, people are afraid to come downtown. People are afraid to be out on the streets," said Zack Wasserman, Oakland Chamber of Commerce's board president.

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce surveyed over 600 residents with the help of FM3 Research. Their poll showed a dramatic dissatisfaction with local government as crime peaks.

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"Views of the mayor also unfavorable. Essentially identical to last year and very similar, to council more broadly. 57% unfavorable to 35% favorable," said Miranda Everitt, vice president of FM3 Research.

We went to downtown Oakland to hear from residents firsthand.

Luz Pena: "How would you describe the state of Oakland right now?"

Smith: "Not good. Not good."

Darshellia Butler was born and raised in Oakland. She's noticed a concerning shift in the last three years.

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"The blatant ongoing crime that wasn't here when I was a teenager or even as an adult growing up. The excessive use of drugs," said Butler.

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce board president says the survey shows residents want more police officers.

"Part of the problem we believe is that we don't have enough police officers," said Wasserman.

The Oakland Police Officers Association says they're understaffed and need more resources.

"We are now down to 678 police officers today. That is about 100 less than we were before the pandemic and hundreds below where we really need to be to address the levels of crime and calls for service that we get on a daily basis," said Sg. Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association.

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According to the survey, homelessness and housing cost continue to be among the most acute problems facing Oakland.

"Renters rights are not being met. You have people who can't afford the rent so they are out here on the streets. Everyone is to blame," said Smith.

The survey also showed that more than half of voters don't see Oakland as good place to live.

"So to see what we are seeing here where these numbers have been steadily diminishing the way they have over just a five year period or so. Where the percentage of people who tell us they'll recommend Oakland as place for other to live is down 21 points. There's another portion that says they would recommend it as a place to visit is down 25. Even the proportion of those who say they are proud to be in Oakland. While it's up slightly from last year, it's down 17 point," said David Metz, partner and president of FM3 Research.

We contacted Oakland's Mayor Libby Schaaf to comment on the survey. Her team said she was unavailable. Her last state of the city address was held on Wednesday as her term is coming to an end.

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