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"Dude, it's our neighborhood"

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I recently attended a function that included an old friend of mine who is on the Oakland PD.  The police layoffs had just happened - over 10% of the force was let go - and he made a comment struck home with me.  He said that basically, Oakland police would only be able to respond to 911 calls.

This wasn't said in a threatening or "pay-back" manner - but as a statement of fact.  They simply don't have the officers to be able to do much more than respond to emergencies.

The police chief of Oakland recently provided the people of the city with a list of crimes they will no longer send officers to investigate.  Amongst these are burglary, theft, grand theft, embezzlement and vandalism.

If you are a victim of one of these crimes, you're expected to fill out a form on the Internet, and hope for the best.

Call me jaded, but I've got to believe that this list will be used as a "To Do" list by the bad guys.  Because the police will not come to your home to take photos or fingerprints, unless the criminals are caught with your stuff in their hands with records tied directly to you, the chances of them being caught are extremely thin.

This sense of lawlessness is acting to draw criminals to the area.  After the BART cop trial verdict, people from outside of Oakland came to the city to "rabble rouse" and helped to start the ensuing riots and looting.

Just last night, some guy drove into the city - in body armor - and had a shootout with police.  Watch and listen to this video (Language warning:  Not Safe For Work or Kids).  These two residents cannot believe this is happening where they live.  "Dude, it's our neighborhood!"

The shooting goes on for over 6 minutes.  Remember, this is just one guy.




This will happen more and more across California.  Oakland is far from the only city in the state that is having financial difficulties.  This type of police services may be coming to a city near you!

Some things you can do:

Take photos of your valuable property.  Take an individual photo of each piece of jewelry, electronics equipment, firearms, art, gold/silver coins or bullion, or anything you have of value that is likely to be stolen.  Be sure you keep the photos in a place or on media that is unlikely to be stolen in a robbery!

Have insurance, and be sure it covers your property.  Many homeowner's policies will have limits on what is covered and what values will be paid.  Verify whether or not you will need a separate Rider to cover the value of all of your property.  If you're an apartment dweller or a home renter, be sure you have insurance as well.

Get an alarm system.  Many police departments will no longer respond to private alarms being tripped, but the alarms themselves are VERY loud.  They are not necessarily a deterrent, but they may reduce your losses.

Assess the security of your home or apartment.  Here is an excellent home security checklist (PDF) from the National Neighborhood Watch Program.

Take a safety awareness and self-defense course.  Many police departments offer awareness programs for businesses and individuals.  The NRA offers a program called, "Refuse To Be A Victim".  Take a self-defense course in the martial arts, pepper spray and stun guns or the defensive use of handguns. 

YOU are your first line of defense.
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You can follow Chief Instructor at Accept The Challenge.

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6 comments:
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Catman said...
July 18, 2010 at 9:35 AM  

In the video is the comment made by those filming the incident, "They're not doing a good job" (4:18-4:19 in the clip.)Referencing the efforts by the police to contain the situation.

I noticed one officer spotlighting himself by moving openly under streetlights during the shootout.

These types of situations are becoming more and more frequent. On Friday night, 7 people were shot, two of them fatally, in Stockton California. Stockton is also a city facing cuts to their police forces.

The story below will give you a good idea of what is starting to happen in hardscrabble neighborhoods.

http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-news-farmworkershooting,0,4519164.story

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Anonymous said...
July 18, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

There is something about this that isn't being discussed. The statement was that each officer costs the city $188,000 a year. It's fairly obvious that no city can afford to hire enough police at $188k a pop. I'm all for paying police and firemen a reasonable wage but who out there thinks $188k is reasonable? And I realize not all of this $188k goes into their pocket directly and a lot of it is health insurance, retirement, etc. That still doesn't change the fact that the taxpayers are on the hook for $188k for one cop! The unions will destroy this country one town, one state at a time.

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Anonymous said...
July 18, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

Add "get a dog" to your list. Even a small yappy dog is a deterrent to a burglar and more importantly the dog will wake you if your sleeping. A big dog will offer real protection that a small dog cannot but you don't really need a big dog to get most of the benefit a dog can provide.

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Catman said...
July 18, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

Anonymous,

I agree many of the civil servants are overpriced, both in salary and benefits (including retirement), but that is a side issue. We can point fingers and cast blame until we are over run. It's what the powers that be want us to do, be distracted.

The issue at hand is that a large criminal class has been fostered over the last 50 years. They were mostly kept in check, and out of sight of the gentry class who believed they were doing a good thing by stealing our wealth and using it to feed, house, and medicate their ever growing numbers.

The fence that was made of money that used to keep this group contained is rapidly falling. Eventually, this group is going to realize that there is no more fence, and like escaped animals from a zoo....

Everyone needs to form an action plan to deal with the fallout from the collapse of our infrastructure.

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Anonymous said...
July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

I can't agree that the fact these police cost the government $188k is a "side issue". It is THE issue. Basically the unions have conspired with politicians to where the unions get huge pay raises for their people and the politicians get re-elected. That IS the problem. Check your local middle or high school. A typical school will have 16 classrooms but employee 24 teachers! So at anytime during the day you are paying for 1/3rd of the teachers to sit in the break room. A modern day featherbedding. Solution: fire the excess teachers and require the remaining teachers actually do their jobs. I'm not "down" on teachers, this is the fault of the unions. But even a union teacher should be able to read the writing on the wall. We cannot afford this any longer. Even non-government jobs cost the tax payer more, i.e. the law requiring prevailing wages for government contracts adds an extra 30% to all construction jobs for state and local governments. That means the next time you vote to allow your community to raise $100 million in bonds to build schools $30 million is wasted to payoff unions.

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Catman said...
July 19, 2010 at 3:41 PM  

Anonymous,

I'm not arguing with you. I agree 100% that people in the public sector are over paid, and yes, the unions had a great deal to do with this situation.

But at this point in time, it is a side issue. The Titanic is going down and people in the dining room are arguing about whether or not the butter knife is placed at the top of the bread plate or beside it.

The fact is police, fire and even janitorial staff will not come back to a job at a lower salary when they know the courts are going to force states and municipalities to pay them what they demand, or are contractually obligated to.

Right now the courts are telling this state that they MAY NOT pay their employees the minimum wage. Even temporarily. And it was the state who took the state to state court to force the state to pay its state workers what they demand.

Does that make any damn sense to anyone? A state that is broke is wasting money suing itself.

There's another part of the problem for you. Lawyers.

Its not just the unions, its the whole system, and its coming apart. We've know for a very long time that what was being done was unsustainable, and I suspect you were one of the ones out there crying in the wilderness trying to get people to look at the problems.

Everyone needs to concentrate on preparing themselves to deal with the fallout from the collapse.

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