|New direction needed to address public safety in Oakland|
|Written by Ignacio de la Fuente|
|Wednesday, 17 August 2011 00:00|
The loss of any human life to criminal activity is a tragedy, but the daylight murder of a 3-year old child killed by a stray bullet is unacceptable, inexcusable, and should not be tolerated by anyone; not the residents nor the leadership of this City.
Oakland gun violence is out of control. We should be outraged by the fact that our neighborhoods are being terrorized and the killing of innocent bystanders seems to be a regular occurrence. At present, Oakland’s homicide rate is up 50% compared to this time last year, that’s 75 murders this year. 75 murders too many.
For many years, some of us elected officials in this City have pushed for enforcement measures that others have opposed, and as a result we have not received the necessary support to enforce or implement some of the crime fighting tools that are available to law enforcement. Whether a curfew or a gang injunction, the argument against such tools is always the same, “It’s a violation of their civil liberties and/or its racial profiling.” Oaklanders came out in record numbers to speak out against the gang injunction, we ask those individuals today, “What about the civil liberties of this little boy who was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs? Who is going to speak up for his civil liberties and those of his family? Who is speaking up for the civil liberties of the young African American and Latino males that are being killed on our streets each year?”
The violent individuals committing crime in our city need to be stopped NOW. The rhetoric about civil liberties will not bring back little Carlos, nor will it console his parents or the families of the hundreds of murder victims in our city.
The criminals in our city DO NOT HESITATE to use their weapons; we shouldn’t hesitate to use ours. Oakland residents need to stand up and demand that those of us in power use all the weapons at our disposal to battle these lawless individuals.
We can no longer give the same tired excuses to our fellow citizens. We ask you to stand with us and demand that the tools available to us to enforce the Law are used and that the criminals are taken off the street and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If other cities can do it, why can’t Oakland?
Before the headlines fade, the tears dry up and this becomes “just another murder,” we ask that you join Council President Reid and I in demanding that the entire City Council and our Mayor support and implement the following public safety initiatives. We have to do more than just talk about public safety, we need to implement solutions such as:
* Implementation of a Citywide Curfew
* Full implementation of the Fruitvale gang injunction
* Expansion of the gang injunction into East & West Oakland
To the silent majority in this city, the one that supports tougher law enforcement efforts in this city, IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO SPEAK UP. Whether these violent crimes are happening in your neighborhood or not, this is OUR city and we must unite and demand change. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of this child and the families of all who have been murdered in our city.