The roots of crime


The Chron has figured out how to solve Oakland's crime problem, in one sentence.

Here it is:

Critics said police don't address the roots of crime, which can be solved with greater social services and educational opportunities.

That is a thing of beauty, right there.

Reminds me of an old college friend who went and got himself a Ph.D in criminology, and when he was passing through town, we had drinks, and I asked him: What does a doctor of criminology do? His response: We study the causes of crime.

So I requested that he enlighten me with his academic wisdom; what, I said, are the causes of crime? He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts, then said:


That's a lot of book-learning there. And now "critics" say that crime can be addressed by social services and educational opportunities. Remarkable.

An overwhelming majority of the Oakland City Council approved the deal to hire a consulting firm that will bring on William Bratton to help the cops get a handle on the horrible violent crime problem in the city. It's worth noting, for the record, that Bratton got his fame (and, given his price tag, his apparent fortune) with programs like Stop and Frisk, which is still going on in New York even thought a judge agrees it's unconstitutional. Oakland isn't implementing Stop and Frisk, at least not now. but this sort of aggressive policing is Bratton's M.O., so I don't think the debate over the proper role of cops in the community is over.

And if you think Stop and Frisk is a dandy way to fight crime, check out this stunning video of what it's done in New York:


and in fact a frequent criticism about Oakland is that they direct too many resources to these "soft and fluffy" ways to try and deter crime (infamously phrased as the "hug a thug" program).

You can provide all the boys' clubs and girls' clubs and basketball courts and all the rest but, in the end, a lot of these kids are just bad, because their parents are bad, or not around at all.

In the end, only direct expenditure on aggressive zero-tolerance policing works, and that is what Brattaon has been so successful with. Look at Times Square now compared with 20 years ago - there is no comparison, the pimps, pushed and prostitutes have all gone, and families have returned.

My main concern is the exact opposite - that even if more cops are hired and agressive techniques are used, Oakland may still fail if the politicians are too timid in their support of cops, and too generous in their support of the elements,

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

Give us mo food stamps and schoolin or we gwonna do some killing.


Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

Unfunny, racist troll.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

Legalizing consensual crimes would help a lot more.

When there is a culture around not becoming a useful member of society all the programs in the world will not work. When a meme like "don't snitch" spreads like wildfire you know you are dealing with a whole host future leaders.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

misdemeanors in Marin. Fixing Oakland's 130-a-year murder rate and gang culture will take a little more than a few well-meaning types "sharing with" gangmembers

Posted by anon on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

Even if they are taught to be good citizens in afterschool programs, what happens to them then once they are looking for work and there are no jobs? Of course you're going to sell drugs when there is no other work for you.

Its a catch 22. Employers do not want to open businesses in Oakland because it's lawless. So there are no jobs so the dwellers turn to lawlessness to get by. The main industry in Oakland seems to be social justice non-profits. They can give these kids hugs but not jobs.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

Nobody n their right mind would live there. It's only 10 miles away but it might as well be on another planet.

Posted by anon on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

You can't handle the problem with just tactics, or strategy. You have to use both.

Stop and frisk is a good tactic. So is curfews and busting kids for truancy.

Providing great education, training and social services is a good strategy.

Look. It's only a very small number of people that are committing these crimes in Oakland and everywhere else for that matter. If the community doesn't help the police, then the problems will continue. There's no question about this.

Cops aren't perfect, but violent criminals are far less desirable to have around.

Posted by NickelDime on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

It's so blindingly obvious you wonder why people don't see it. The answer is that the 1% don't want to spend taxes on anything. The wealthy are capable of insulating themselves against the poverty of others. Just have a look at South America.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

At some point people do get sick of it and rise up. Just look at South America :)

Posted by Greg on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

They'd rather munch Twinkies and watch TV.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 6:59 am

It'll take a lot more abuse, unfortunately; but in the end it will happen.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 8:39 am

year. And ironically, if it does happen, it's more likely to be an uprising of a Tea Party type militia, and not a few hairy activists in sandals.

You were far closer to your kind of reverolution in the 1960's than you are now. Americans are too fat, lazy and happy to revolt.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 8:54 am

before the state repressed it. The biggest Tea Party rally drew maybe a thousand or two.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:01 am

If anyone at Occupy ever carried firearms like some did at some Tea Party events, the massacre at Kent State would look like a garden party.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:14 am

Presidents always move to the center
Progressive ideas are not popular
All politicians lie
"Purity progressives" can't compromise
Nader lost the election for Gore
Progressives have situational ethics
Progressives ignore pressing problems to promote pet projects.
Progressives want to tell everyone else how to run their lives
Progressives call anybody a troll who doesnt' agree with them

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:21 am

If that's an "uprising", we clearly have nothing to fear from it.

Posted by anon on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:35 am

as in tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, and mass arrests.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:40 am

even where there was little or no suppression of their activities.

It was a half-assed, futile gesture.

Posted by anon on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:55 am


Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:01 am

was in many more places than Oakland.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Oakland and NYC saw 99% of the alleged "suppression"

Mostly, Occupy just fizzled out when winter arrived.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:15 am

almost all Occupy encampments with various degrees of force. Plus there have been close to 8,000 arrests of people for non-violently expressing themselves.

Recently released (but heavily redacted) information from the FBI shows surveillance of Occupy at least a month before the first encampments started. Indeed, there is mention of a plan in Houston (unclear by whom exactly because of the redactions) to assassinate Occupy leaders with silenced sniper rifles.

The Occupy movement had its own problems, but there is more to its demise than fizzling out because of the weather.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 8:18 am

Occupy was pushed more than it jumped.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 8:54 am

Those firehoses and truncheons had nothing to do with it.

There will not be an uprising until circumstances for enough people on the outside of prisons deteriorate to the conditions inside prisons or close to it.

That is happening, the pace of that deterioration is accelerating, and the only question is whether the frogs being boiled in the pot will still be able to jump out when the heat gets high enough.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:49 am

Occupy had it's 15 minutes of adequacy. Nothing to see there any more. Americans are fat and happy.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:01 am

since you eat out mainly at chain restaurants.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:10 am

You want what others have. You're angry and disgruntled that you don't have more in life and you covet the wealth and privilege of others. It's an age old story.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

I watched the video, I went to city council meeting in Oak. I have not heard a solution to the epidemic crime rate in Oak. Almost 40,000 serious crimes in Oak last year, over 100 per day, every day, 365 days per year in a city of only 400000. And crime increased 17% from 2011. There are jobs here Oakland is busting, office space and residential space are in increasingly short supply. You do have to have skills- that is correct. Is oUSD not providing adequate training Absolutely. A 50% dropout rate for kids of color. What job can you get with no skills? Crime. Oakland communities of color have overwhelmingly backed OUSD & teachers unions rather than demanded that their kids get an opportunity for an education and demanding same of kids. Mayor quandary was at OUSD, she backed teaching kids Ebonics. That video a red herring obviously he wired himself than looked at the cops suspicious so he'd have something to record. Would you accept one from a cop who knew he was wired? You'd obviously see the most polite cop. Can you deny that crime rates have gone down in Ny & LA? Jobs training programs, sure but you still have to get criminals off the street, especially those with weapons. Bratton is also compstat, broken window theory & SFQ so STFU.

Posted by SF2OAK on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 7:34 am

I will just spout off on Oakland's crime problems without talking with anyone other than an unnamed friend not from Oakland. Tim if you are going to write about Oakland and its crime problems maybe you should spend some time in West or East Oakland. But then again you probably are scared.

Let's be clear Oakland is in a state of war. Rival gangs are at war with each other shooting on sight without consequences. They are funding this war with money from selling drugs, prostitution and stealing from the "rich" people in Oakland. The rich people they are stealing from are mostly what most would call middle class.

The question in Oakland is not how do you reduce crime but how do you end the open warfare on the streets.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:49 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... yes, lovely MEANINGLESS words ...

Crime does come from poverty and MAN'S inhumanity to ONE another.

However, when things are RIGGED and those in charge CORRUPT and UNACCOUNTABLE ... the HOPE is LOST.

Rigged is as RIGGED does ...

SF DPH breaks the law ....

the Police. Office of Citizen;s Complaints and Human Rights Commission deny access and accommodation to a PUBLIC OFFICE to seek redress in order to correct and HOLD ACCOUNTABLE ... (POLICE) (OFFICE of CITIZEN'S COMPLAINTS) (HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION)

why worry the DA will NOT do the right thing ...

Shall we see the SHERIFF : or and MIND YOU the sheriff states GO BACK to DPH ....

Again DPH does WHAT ??? This is what I got and

Now, it has been ANOTHER month ask me what my followup to the SHERIFF, CHIEF SUHR, the POLICE COMMISSION has gotten me ... RIGGED is as RIGGED does.

NO fix, NO accountability, NO correction, More ILLUSION, NO DAMAGES, NO HUMANITY ... what DID they got ... THEIR PAYCHECK and the OPPORTUNITY to move on to the NEXT VICTIM while falsely claiming LOFTY principles which DO NOT pan out in REALITY .... KEEP DRINKING the KOOL AID.

Yes, MAN'S INHUMANITY ... bought, paid and SOLD for by your tax dollars ... WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE ....

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jan. 25, 2013 @ 7:12 am