What Oakland Cops Can Do

The recent spate of highly professional burglaries have awakened Montclarions from their comfort zones, to say the least.  Meanwhile Oakland cops are paying more attention lately too, but haven’t arrested the perps yet.

There was a special meeting at City Hall earlier this week, among community leaders and top city cops including Deputy Chief Jeff Israel,  Captain Anthony Toribio, and Sergeant Oliver Cunningham.  Topic A was Montclair’s crime wave, as seen in this three-month mapping of all area crimes.

Montclair Crime Response:

At City Hall, we definitely learned more about the cops, suspects and wheels of justice.  Montclarion Sandra Pohutsky attended the meeting and took copious notes.  Here are some interesting tidbits:

  • Our beat cops who cover the Oakland Hills (13X, 13Y, 13Z) were described as “very sharp, well organized, high-caliber officers.”  PSO Maureen Vergara, who covers core Montclair (13Z) was called “awesome.”
  • Sgt. Cunningham investigates burglaries and has data showing 70 residential burglaries in the last two and half months in the Oakland Hills.
  • In Montclair, there are four burglar teams that mostly show up during the day.  They drive different cars to avoid detection by us.  The teams include two white males, two black males in late 30s, two Asian males in early 30s and some younger black males.
  • “Burglary is now an enterprise” and the courts are less lenient then in prior years.  Loot get sold online, at pawnshops, flea markets, and “fences” who are people who sell stolen goods.
  • The District Attorney can pursue cases when there’s solid and real data.  Apparently burglars get 10 years if they are repeat offenders.

The cops move slowly through their investigations, but some of this pace is out of their control.  Sgt. Cunningham, who oversees all the burglaries, receives reports within 24-48 hours.  Fingerprinting and DNA evidence can be taken quickly too – and then it takes up to three months to get back fingerprinting and up to ten months for DNA results!

More Funds For Cops:

Although 65% of Oakland’s budget is allocated for cops plus firefighters, it’s not enough for the cops to do their work.  That’s part of the motivation for Measure NN, which would increase the police count and also hire technicians who handle paperwork.

With the recent Oakland budget cuts, our City Rep Jean Quan is strongly advocating for its passage.  So is Mayor Ron Dellums, who sponsored the measure and just attended a Castlemont town-hall meeting to encourage support from citizens.

There are mixed reactions to the measure, due to prior cop funding and how the city handles its finances.  In a survey conducted last summer, some 60% of Oaklanders support this ballot measure.  We’ll see what happens on Election Day.

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