There was a shooting in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood last weekend. A man attempted to intercede when two men got out of a car and attempted to steal purses from two women walking along the sidewalk. One of the robbers shot the man twice and then got back into his car and drove away. As you’ll see in this report, one local resident said of Oakland’s streets, “There’s no law and order. We’re going back to the wild, wild west.”
Fortunately the good Samaritan who was shot twice in that robbery survived. He later told KTVU he was just trying to help the women who were targeted by the robbers but some in the community have called him a hero.
“I wouldn’t call myself a hero. They can call me hero if they want,” Li said. “I just consider myself as trying to help someone in need. I’m pretty sure that they really needed help.”
Others, however, believe Li was heroic.
“Many of us, we feel strongly, that this brave young man was willing to risk his life. These are the heroes,” said Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
In response to the shooting, Chan also demanded help from the state, asking Gov. Newsom to declare a state of emergency for Oakland and send in the CHP:
“Governor Newsom we want you to do this— declare a state of emergency for the city of Oakland,” said Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Chan said crime in Chinatown and across the city is out of control. He said the governor needs to send more law enforcement to Oakland to curb the violence.
“We want you to bring in the California Highway Patrol,” Chan said. “I’m not only asking you to patrol Chinatown, all areas. We need your help.”
Chan added that the spike in crime was holding “the city of Oakland hostage.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Newsome responded. He declined to declare a state of emergency, saying that wasn’t necessary, but he did agree to send help. Here’s Mayor Libby Schaff announcing that CHP backup would be on the way to help patrol the streets.
We are responding to the demands of our residents for more law enforcement safety. Thank you Gov. @GavinNewsom for granting my request to bring additional CHP traffic enforcement into Oakland’s commercial corridors and along International Blvd. pic.twitter.com/T0yaBMAPja
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) August 12, 2021
In case you’re wondering, the Oakland City Council voted to “defund the police” just a couple months ago. The city’s police chief warned a few days later that the decision would make the city less safe. As I pointed out at the time, just hours after the chief warned about the consequences of defunding, the city’s Chief of the Office of Violence Prevention was giving an interview outside City Hall when two armed robbers walked up and attempted to steal the news station’s camera.
The defunding plan was so dumb that even Mayor Schaff was against it. Her most recent budget actually upset anti-police activists because it raised the total funding for police. Nevertheless, Oakland, like a lot of other cities, is struggling with reduced staffing at a moment when police are needed most:
Even the modest increases in the mayor’s budget, staffing levels here at the Oakland Police Department will remain well below that of comparable cities across the country.
Right now, Oakland is about 90 officers short of its staffing goals.
“When you have a skeleton crew of 709 officers who have 2000 calls for service a day, and doubling violent crime rates, every single officer will make a difference,” said Barry Donelan, President of the Oakland Police Officers Association.
It will take months to return the city to full staffing. Will the CHP stick around that long? I sort of doubt it.
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