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Oakland Montclair District Residents Vent About Rise in Neighborhood Crime

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- More than a hundred people packed Montclair Presbyterian church in Oakland Thursday night. Residents said they're fed up with crime and their frustration boiled over as the meeting ended with many of their questions still unanswered.

Deborah Holtz, a Montclair resident said, "It's one thing to acknowledge elected officials, it's another to give the community that's given up their evening time to ask questions.

Ken Ellis added, "The police officer spoke and he says he's speaking from the heart but went into a script. I think this audience needed something else."

In the crowd was Mandisa Leachman. She came to share her story about the murder of her son but she was one of many who didn't have a chance to speak. Leachman pointed to pictures of crime victims and said, "These represent families and some are not strong enough to be here so we are here to be their voice."

An Oakland police department spokesperson did point out that the department is working with local businesses to crack down on car burglaries and laptop thefts but staffing is an issue.

The city has a budget for 792 officers but the department has 60 open positions.

The panel said that, going forward, it will have at least one officer on the Montclair beat at all times. For councilmember Sheng Thao, who represents the district, she can sympathize with many at the meeting having been, herself, a victim of crime.

"They broke into my home when my baby was home. That was the scariest thing," Thao said.

Organizers did say they hope to have more meetings in the future to address the community's questions. They also provided contact information to reach out to elected officials. Thao can be reached at (510) 238-7082.

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