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Oakland Mayor's Neighbors Fed Up With Crime, Seek Private Guard

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- The crime problem facing Oakland has crept into Mayor Jean Quan's own backyard. Neighbors told KPIX 5 they are frustrated and plan to hire a private guard to improve security.

Quiet as it seems, the Oakmore neighborhood in the Oakland Hills has increasingly become the target of burglars.

For the first time in 38 years, the Schleskes' were robbed around noon Tuesday. They said a burglar ransacked their home and made off with drawers full of jewelry.

"They completely trashed the house," said Sandy Schleske. "It's just the typical feeling of being violated and anger."

Stephen Pollack, who also lives in Oakmore, told KPIX 5, "I would say the last six months that it feels like it's gotten noticeably worse in this neighborhood."

Evidence of the uptick in burglaries is visible in the neighborhood, just blocks from the mayor's home. Utility poles are plastered with the faces of burglary suspects caught on camera.

"The group of neighbors that got together felt that we needed to do something immediate and something meaningful," Pollack said.

Pollack and his neighbors are on the verge of hiring private security guards. Sixty-two households will pay about $60 a month each for one guard to patrol about a ½ mile radius, looking for burglars.

"Our hope is really that it's a deterrent, that thieves recognize we're serious about protecting ourselves," he said.

Some neighbors are skeptical, saying alarm companies already have people in uniform patrolling some sections of the Oakland Hills, with minimal results.

But supporters said these patrols will be different. "Someone is walking by your home every 5-7 minutes or driving by your home every 5-7 minutes," Pollack said.

The private guard is expected be on patrol in about a week. Oakmore residents said they will track the program's effectiveness over the next year.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Mayor Jean Quan's office told KPIX 5 they know the Oakland Police Department is having trouble responding to burglaries. They also said that the mayor's office supports anything people want to do to get involved to make their communities safer.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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