Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Public Safety Requires Immediate Attention

Below is a letter the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the Airport Area Business Business Association, the Jobs and Housing Coalition, the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, the East Bay Rental Housing Association, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have drafted to City Council in regards to Oakland's Public Safety Issues.
3 October 2011

Dear Council Members:

Public Safety requires immediate attention.

The signatories to this letter represent a broad based coalition of Oakland businesses ranging from small businesses to the largest corporations, and include rental housing providers and Ethnic Chambers of Commerce. 

We believe Oakland is a great place to live and do business. There is, however, one issue that detracts from this positive picture. While in many categories of crime there is progress, the headline grabbing homicide rate is on the rise and there is still far too much violence on our streets.  This is first and foremost a personal tragedy for the victims and their families. But study after study shows, and empty storefronts reinforce, violent crimes impact the business climate as well.  For both reasons, we have united to urge you to find ways to address the problem. 

In tight budget times we still need to find ways to avoid ever decreasing police staffing levels. Tools such as gang injunctions, curfews and anti-loitering measures have been suggested by expert criminologists and we believe they should be used.  We also support the use of other recommended technologies such as surveillance cameras, shot spotter audio systems, better street lighting and laptop computers in patrol cars.  When neighborhoods and businesses are safe, people shop in those neighborhoods and tax revenue increases. 

It is in this spirit of coming together for this important cause that we call on all members of the community and our political leaders to put aside past differences and support measures that can help police in their efforts to stop violence. We need more police officers and we need to support them. We urge the Council to come together in the best interest of the entire Oakland community and not be overly concerned about a few loud voices who have dominated the debate.  The time for talking and protesting has passed.  We need to come together and solve this problem now.

Concern for the safety of innocent law abiding citizens who have every right to live free of the fear of crime must be our primary focus. We urge all advocates to respect their colleagues as we work through these issues.  And we urge you to act quickly, with one voice to let everyone know we stand against crime and for the rights of people to live safe and productive lives with their loved ones here in our great city.    


Theo Jackson                                                   Joseph J. Haraburda
President                                                          President & CEO        
Airport Area Business Association                    Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 

Gregory McConnell                                          Wil Hardee                              
President & CEO                                             President & CEO                                
Jobs and Housing Coalition                               Oakland African-American Chamber of Commerce     
Bill Bagnell                                                       Jose Duenas
President                                                          President & CEO
East Bay Rental Housing Association                Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County
* The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce also supports this letter and stance on Public Safety issues in Oakland.

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