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You Tell Us: Why I support the Oakland gang injunction

on May 26, 2010

We’ve lived in North Oakland for 8 years. The area of Oakland we live in is bordered by two other cities, Berkeley on the north and Emeryville to the west. According to the S.F. Chronicle this part of North Oakland, 94608, is the hottest selling zip code above asking price, second only to the Chicago Loop. According to Oakland Police Department we live in Area 1, Beat 10X.

Residents here are angry and sick of dodging bullets on our streets, having bullets pierce our homes, and having 17-year-old girls lose their promising lives here on our streets. More mundane but just as serious is that we all hear nearby gunshots day and night, see child and teenage prostitutes on our section of San Pablo Avenue, dice-games on our corners, open-air drug dealing, and other forms of urban blight associated with these activities.

I became involved in crime prevention and community improvement when I noticed that there were some 3,000 homes and more than 6,000 great folks in our beat, and only a small handful of people who were preventing us from the peaceful enjoyment of our neighborhood.

Many of us are thrilled that our part of North Oakland was chosen as the pilot site for the gang injunction. We know that it is no magic pill or panacea that will rid us of crime once-and-for-all, but it is an innovative tool for the city to curb the rampant crime here.

We love our homes and neighborhoods but we don’t love the crime. We think this injunction directed at a few bad guys will help stop the cycle of violence that dismays most Oakland residents.

Larry Benson is the chair of the Golden Gate Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council, Beat 10X.


You Tell Us is Oakland North’s new community Op-Ed page, featuring opinion pieces submitted by readers on Oakland-related topics. Have something to say? Send essays of 500-1,000 words to We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Bike Man Dan on May 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    With all bad press for the injunction in the media, the other side does need to be heard
    I as well am a homeowner in 94608 (Golden Gate) and would like nothing more than to see the prostitution, drug dealing and violent crime stop. Oakland Police are stretched thin and just trying to get a job done with the tools they have. This just adds another tool to their belt

  2. JPK on May 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I am more or less in favor of the injunction as modified by the court (to ensure that individuals subject to the injunction have the ability to secure hearings challenging their status and requiring the City to notice a hearing before adding individuals to the injunction).

    But, I’ve lived in the neighborhood for years and think

  3. JPK on May 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    [sorry, inadvertent premature post]…
    I’ve lived in the neighborhood for years and think the claims of rampant crime are overblown. I’ve never had to “dodge bullets in the street,” think the prostitution and drug dealing problems are relatively minor, and while I have heard gunshots on a few occasions, it is certainly not a daily and nightly experience. All this hyperbole makes the neighborhood seem a lot more crime ridden than it actually is. It really is quite a pleasant peaceful place to live with a few problems associated with urban poverty that are hardly unique and that do not have a major impact on the vast majority of the residents.

  4. Jonathan Nack on June 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

    The gang injunction is a disgrace. At a time when a BART police officer is on trial for the execution-style murder of young man, people who support giving more authority to police to hassle young people of color ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    Oakland was the birthplace of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. They emerged to protect our communities, particularly our young people of color, from police abuse and institutional racism. That’s the tradition I relate to. Not the one of fear by a bunch of NIMBYs used to give OPD more impunity.

    Oakland is known across the country as one of the most corrupt and vicious police forces. The only U.S. police force written up in a U.N. report on human rights violations in 2003 for their unprovoked shooting of unarmed peaceful anti-war demonstrators at the Port of Oakland.

    Court appointed monitors of OPD, the result of numerous law suits, have concluded OPD is not making progress in reforming the practices, which it’s been repeatedly sanctioned for by the courts, and that it is incapable of reforming itself.

    That’s who you want to give more leeway to?

    Crime is a community problem which can best be addressed by communities coming together and organizing themselves to address the mass pathologies infecting our communities and the root causes of crime. No police force can do that for us.

    We need more police accountability, not less.

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