OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Residents in several Oakland neighborhoods credit private patrols for a significant drop in crime, with one neighborhood claiming a drop of 85 percent. Meanwhile, the Oakland Police Department and some community members remain skeptical about the patrols.
Neighborhood watch groups have been crunching the numbers and told KPIX 5 that patrols are working. People in Lower Rockridge said burglaries and robberies have dropped 45 percent in the last three months. Meanwhile, people in the Oakmore neighborhood claim an 85 percent drop in crime.
“The protocol is just to observe, report,” said Alexander Smith, a patrolman for the company Security Code 3. He patrols a neighborhood where another guard did a little more than observe and report. That guard shot a man after a home invasion last month.
“Property crimes are down and yes because we are here,” Smith told KPIX 5.
Oakland Police said it’s too early to tell whether private patrols are making a difference. Crime may be spilling over into other areas.
“You fortify your house, so they go next door,” said Luke Pease, who lives in the Oakland Hills. He is not sold on private patrols, even after thieves ransacked his home recently.
“This is really a Band-Aid solution,” said Jill Broadhurst, a candidate for Oakland City Council. She said while patrols have given some Oakland residents peace of mind, they have also created new problems.
“It gets very messy,” Broadhurst said. “I’ve talked to different groups where they’ve had to form LLC’s because there’s liability surrounding that. Really, is that what a neighborhood group is supposed to be taxed with and then they have to pay the legal fees for protecting themselves? That’s no way to live.”
While Broadhurst said the patrols are nice, she said Oakland is going to need more officers and a permanent police chief to see significant change.
Oakland police have started meeting with some of the private patrol companies to compare notes.