A Community Copes With Crime

IF CRIME isn’t the No. 1 problem in Oakland, it’s close. And more and more readers are sharing their stories of theft and frustration. Take the man on my street whose van was stolen from his garage. Neighbors felt certain that an abandoned truck nearby was linked to the crime. But it took several weeks for police to respond and when they did, the officer admitted that “probably nothing could be done”
Earlier this month, LeAnne Bearden’s car was stolen in the Laurel District. Police found it on a Friday afternoon, but didn’t call her till the following Tuesday. It sat it the tow yard, collecting fines for five days, which she then had to pay to get the car back. “It’s like being a victim twice,” she says. “First by the thief and then by the city.”
Just as frustrating as the slow response is police saying they’re too strapped to investigate these crimes. Whatever happened to “dusting for fingerprints” and talking to witnesses?
In the end, really all we can do is stay vigilant. Keep our cars locked up at night and have some kind of alarm for the daytime.
Because with this kind of crime, protecting our assets is up to us.

TENDER WORDS: You’ve probably seen the “Chicken Soup” books. There are several versions, with the latest being “Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul.” Nestled in the dozens of inspiring articles is one from Skyline High graduate Mike Robbins, who writes a tribute to his Oakland hills mom. Lois was single when she raised her two kids. Mike remembers how she taught him to play baseball, then supported him at Skyline and Stanford and into the minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals. But for all his accomplishments, this may be the sweetest. “He gave me a wrapped copy of the book,” Lois says, “and he asked me to read it out loud.” Her reaction lit up the room. “I went nuts — crying, screaming and carrying on.” Mike turned 31 this month, but Lois feels like she got the birthday present — and the nicest thank you a son could ever give.

POSTAL TIDBIT: Just when you thought every branch of government was broke, the United States Postal Service has expanded its branch hours in Montclair! It’s just a test, mind you, but now you can mail your packages and buy your stamps until 7 p.m. on weeknights.
Of course, not everyone sees the need for this change. One reader reports that her friend looked blankly at her and said, “Why, with stamps.com do you even care what the hours are?”

E-MAIL BAG: If you’ve got pop-up problems on your computer, here’s a reader who can sympathize, and even help. Dr.Max Mansoubi says he’s just opened the Bay Area’s first anti-spyware and anti-malware computer clinic — at 3756 Grand Ave. in Oakland.
Experts say spyware is becoming a huge threat that not even anti-virus programs can contain. You know you’re infected when so many advertisements pop up, your computer slows to a crawl.

SPORTS MANIA: Congratulations to Ricky’s Sports Bar in San Leandro for being Sports Illustrated’s pick for No. 2 sports bar in the nation. Ricky Ricardo (I love that name) has good pub food and just about every sporting event you could ask for on an insane number of televisions (he even has them in the bathrooms!) And on Easter Sunday night Ricky’s spotlights an Oakland band called, appropriately, the Easter Eggs — live in the lounge.


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