KRON 4: Elected leaders discuss Oakland crime prevention

By Philippe Djegal

Rising violence in Oakland brought elected and community leaders together Wednesday.

Confidence in the Oakland Police Department has waned on the streets leading some to hesitate or disregard making calls for service knowing that depending on the severity of the crime, police may not even respond. Residents told elected leaders that would not be the case if the federal government jumped in to provide more resources immediately.

“What we heard over and over again is the importance of having these resources at the street level — at the grassroots level, where a community is engaged in violence prevention. Several programs use violence interrupters. Young people to prevent the onset of whatever is about the take place,” said Barbara Lee, representative.

Representative Lee invited Senator Alex Padilla and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to talk about crime prevention and intervention solutions Wednesday. It was held at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland and community members made it clear the federal government can help more.

“The idea of declaring a federal health emergency so that Medi-Cal reimbursement could be available for violence prevention work is actually a very creative suggestion,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Senator Padilla said he is on board. “There was a call for, and we’re committed to increase federal investments in counseling services, not just violence prevention but also intervention programs — educational opportunities. But we’re not starting from zero. We know in the Safer Communities Act that was recently passed, there’s hundreds of millions of dollars for initiatives just like this,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

“We’re so proud to have these leaders here listening directly to the voices of this community who are frustrated but are here to work together to bring peace and safety to our community,” said Mayor Schaaf.

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