Oakland, Cal., police are advising residents to take added security measures amid a surge in crime, CNN reports. Some unnerved residents say they are considering leaving the state. Community activists, including the local NAACP, have demanded action from city officials. “African Americans are disproportionately hit the hardest by crime in East Oakland and other parts of the city. But residents from all parts of the city report that they do not feel safe,” said NAACP Oakland Branch President Cynthia Adams and pastor Bishop Bob Jackson. Their statement accused “failed leadership” of creating “a heyday for Oakland criminals.” The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office contested the NAACP’s characterization of city officials’ efforts to stop the crime surge.
“We are disappointed that a great African American pastor and a great African American organization would take a false narrative on such an important matter,” the office said. Although Oakland homicides are down 14% in the last year, burglaries have increased by 41% and robberies by more than 20%. Darren Allison, interim chief of the Oakland Police Department, said he’s aware the rise in crime is putting a strain on the quality of life for residents and tourists. That is why his department is focusing on sustainable solutions for prevention, in addition to enforcing the laws. The union representing Oakland police officers says the city needs more officers on the street. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said she is committed to working with partners in the community to find ways to prevent crimes and hold those who commit them accountable.