OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A day after the majority of Oakland’s city council voted to slash over $17 million from the police department budget over the next two years, some residents were weighing on on how they felt about the cuts.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the cuts will result in the loss of 50 police officer jobs at a time when violent crimes are way up.READ MORE: San Jose Police: Smash-And-Grab Thieves Target Eastridge Mall Jewelry Store; 4 Suspects Sought
Those backing the cuts say the money is better spent on violence prevention programs.
KPIX 5 asked people who live in different parts of town to see how they feel about the budget cuts.
“I’m conflicted in the middle. And if it goes to, like, preventive programs, that would be fantastic,” said Oakland resident Jimmy Savage. “But on the other side in Oakland, there’s never a cop around when you need one. If you call, it takes two hours or more for one to show up.”
In the Lake Merritt area, more neighbors appeared willing to shift police funding to social programs.
“The police are an enormous part of the budget already. And I don’t think we want as a city for the police to overwhelm the budget completely,” said Lake Merritt Resident Eric Mondale. “I’m willing to take a chance, and maybe even put some more money into some those other programs.”
Those residents don’t believe more police would result in a safer city, but not everyone KPIX spoke with felt that way.
“I don’t really want to see the police defunded because the police are beyond busy,” said resident Lucy Radcliffe.READ MORE: Man Found Fatally Shot Near Park In Hayward
The farther east you go, especially in deep East Oakland where most of the homicides and shootings have taken place, many people complained there aren’t enough officers.
“We need more police in Oakland.” said Olawale Elutilo, a former Oakland resident who left for San Leandro.
“So often, people [break] into the cars, homes. So no, I disagree with defunding the police,” said Celina Satterfield, who lives near the Oakland Zoo.
At the Foothill Square shopping center in East Oakland, many people said they’re fed up with the gun violence.
“I understand why people want to defund the police. They think the police are violent. But who’s gonna save us when we need to call them,” said Darlene Calixte.
“A lot of people just don’t feel safe. We need police. And the community needs to work with the police to help curb some of the violence,” said long time East Oakland resident Thomas Perry.
“Maybe we do give it a chance. It could do something right. But if we do see that it’s not helping us, then we should not defund it no more,” said East Oakland resident Chatzie Garcia.MORE NEWS: Guard Indicted for Sexual Assault of Inmates at San Joaquin County Jail
As of Friday, the police department has 714 sworn officers. Some believed the cut will bring that number down to well below 700 officers.