OAKLAND (KPIX 5) - Oakland's crime problems have gotten so bad that some people aren't even bothering to call the cops anymore; instead, they're trying to solve and prevent crimes themselves.
KPIX 5 cameras caught up with a half dozen neighbors in East Oakland's Arcadia Park neighborhood Monday as they walked the streets on the lookout for crime. The vigilance has never seemed more necessary than now; 25 homes in the neighborhood have been burglarized over the last two months alone.
In a neighborhood that has started to feel like the wild west, people have even started posting "wanted" signs.
"You have to walk around in your house with a gun to feel safe here," said Alaska Tarvins of the Arcadia Park Board of Directors.
Over the weekend, one home was burglarized twice in a 24 hour period, once while a resident's nephew was inside.
"He was on with 911 when those men tried to kick into his room. That was very frightening," said the woman, identified only as Inca.
Now, Arcadia park neighbors are taking the detective work into their own hands.
KPIX 5 found a woman who identified herself as L.E. patrolling her neighborhood by car. She said she recently chased down a couple of robbers herself.
"There was an armed robbery in progress and the owner yelled 'help me' and I ended up going after them," L.E. recalled.
The people who live in the area are nothing if not gutsy, but they need help. A plan to gate their community has been stalled. With the police force stretched painfully thin, they may be forced to follow other Oakland neighborhoods and hire private guards.
"We don't have a choice. Either die or we hire some security ourselves, because we can't depend on the police department," said Tarvins.
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