Oakland Police are Making a Dent in Retaliaton Gang War

on July 16, 2009

The Oakland police are making progress against gang violence, in part because of police surveillance and sting operations, a police official told a neighborhood group at the North Oakland Senior Center.

The official also said residents need to be diligent about bike thefts and purse snatchings, and that the police will crack down on speeding on Martin Luther King Way.

Mike Muñoz, an officer from the problem-solving unit of the police department, gave few details about gang clashes when he talked on Tuesday to about 20 residents who are members of the Shattuck Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council.

Turf wars between the Waterfront Boys in south Berkeley and a rival gang in North Oakland, exploded into violence last month, Officer Muñoz said.  Last month four people were killed by gunfire, and two more victims were claimed in a car chase after a skirmish.

Undercover work by the Oakland police has cleared the streets of many of the gang leaders, according to Officer Muñoz, who didn’t elaborate.

“The only thing I can anticipate are some infighting with the key players out of the way,” he said.  “If you see anything out of the ordinary call it in.  We have a list of individuals we are actively pursuing.”

A woman sitting on a bus bench at Shattuck and Alcatraz was the victim of one of two purse snatchings in the neighborhood in the past month, he said. Another  purse that was snatched at the Safeway off Broadway was found on 58th Street.

Don Link, chair of the Shattuck Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council,  also cautioned residents to be diligent when locking up their bikes.  A road bike was stolen from an  owner’s back yard shed.A neighbor witnessed the bike being loaded into a blue Cadillac with a Texas license plate.  The neighbor did not realize it was being stolen until she heard a report later.

Commercial burglaries are down in Oakland 24% from last year, but car burglaries are on the rise.

“You’d be surprised how something insignificant to us will be taken if they can get to it – phone chargers, change on the center console or anything electronic, “ said Officer Muñoz.

A woman at the neighborhood meeting asked if traffic enforcement on Martin Luther King Way would continue.Muñoz assured her and everyone else that it would.
Route 24 has an exit ramp that empties directly on to Martin Luther King Way.  The speed limit immediately drops to 30 miles per hour, then to 25.  Oakland Children’s Hospital, two senior homes and a senior center are along the corridor.

“They come flying off the freeway,” Officer Muñoz said, “ and start to slow down around 55th Street.  They are twice the speed limit.  Those tickets are going to hurt,”

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The Shattuck Neighborhood Council has a hotline where residents can report problem spots or suspicious activity that will be documented and shared with the problem solving officer and other officers that patrol in the area.

The hotline can be reached by calling 510-655-6122 or sending an e-mail to cpbeat11X@aol.com.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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