OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – A day after the majority of Oakland City Council voted to cut over $ 17 million from the police department budget over the next two years, some residents weighed on their views on the cuts.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the cuts would result in the loss of 50 police officer jobs while violent crime had risen sharply.
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Proponents of the cuts say the money is better spent on violence prevention programs.
KPIX 5 asked people who live in different parts of the city how they view the budget cuts.
“I’m in the middle of a conflict. And when it comes to preventive programs, that would be fantastic, ”said Jimmy Savage of Oakland. “But on the other hand in Oakland there’s never a cop around when you need one. If you call, it will take two hours or more for someone to show up. “
In the Lake Merritt area, more neighbors appeared willing to shift police funds into social programs.
“The police are already a huge part of the budget. And I don’t think we as a city want the police to completely overwhelm the budget, ”said Eric Mondale, a resident of Lake Merritt. “I’m ready to take a chance and maybe even put a little more money into some of these other programs.”
These residents don’t believe that more police would make a safer city, but not everyone KPIX spoke to thought so.
“I don’t really want the police to be released because the police are busy,” said local resident Lucy Radcliffe.
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The further east you go, especially in the deep east of Oakland, where most of the murders and shootings have taken place, a lot of people complained that there weren’t enough officers.
“We need more police in Oakland.” said Olawale Elutilo, a former Oakland resident who was leaving for San Leandro.
“So often, people [break] in the cars, houses. So no, I don’t agree to disappoint the police, ”said Celina Satterfield, who lives near Oakland Zoo.
At the Foothill Square Mall in East Oakland, many people said they were tired of gun violence.
“I understand why people want to disappoint the police. You think the police are violent. But who’s going to save us if we have to call her, ”said Darlene Calixte.
“Many just don’t feel safe. We need police. And the community needs to work with the police to contain some of the violence, ”said Thomas Perry, who has lived in East Oakland for a long time.
“Maybe we’ll give him a chance. It might be doing something right. But if we see that it doesn’t help, we shouldn’t withdraw it anymore, ”said Chatzie Garcia from East Oakland.
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As of Friday, the police had 714 sworn officers. Some believed the cut will bring that number to well below 700 officials.