The Town Crier On Crime


All around the hills, the Town Crier hears things. Lately, the news hasn’t been good. One reader told me she was almost carjacked at MacArthur and Coolidge the other evening. She was waiting at a stop light when a group of boys ran up to her car yelling, “You’re in East Oakland now!” One tried to open her door and she reacted by stepping on the gas and screeching through the intersection. Running on sheer terror and adrenaline, she flagged down a police officer, only to have him react with a “what am I supposed to do” attitude. He told her that because the boys didn’t brandish a weapon, there was no crime. And police wonder why some average citizens feel they’ve lost their protection.
Then there’s the ongoing crime in Crocker Highlands, where reader Sonja Luciano says someone is rifling through unlocked cars in driveways and on the streets.
And even grocery shopping can be dangerous. A woman had her purse snatched in the Montclair Safeway parking lot at 2:30 in the afternoon, recently. The thug shoved her to the ground before jumping in his car and driving away.
These reports are alarming, but they should also be a wake-up call. We must be aware of our surroundings, even when all we’re thinking about is what to buy for dinner. That’s life in the big city — even in the best neighborhoods.

E-MAIL BAG: Regarding my recent column on how Oakland ignores recycling thieves, reader Tom Dryden responded: “The city seems to have never heard of the ‘broken window theory’ (as soon as vandalism begins to be ignored, the vandalism increases in frequency as well as severity). He says people who get away with rooting through the trash must feel that anything goes in Oakland.

SIGN UPDATE: Remember the confusion over the Shepherd Canyon Park sign that directed folks up Escher Drive to a place where there was no access to the park? Sue Piper in Councilwoman Jean Quan’s office says it’s being replaced with a sign that makes more sense and is being donated by Quan herself. Quan is working with the Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association on a masterplan for the 34-acre park that includes more parking, more trails and even a fenced play area for dogs (which are currently banned from the park).

GIVING ‘TANKS’: It’s nice to know that when the big one hits, our drinking water will be safe. EBMUD is rebuilding eight water tanks that are in danger of cracking during a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault. Neighbors who live near the reservoirs are putting up with the dust and truck traffic, but most say it’s a small price to keep our water supply from rushing down the street. The last thing we need is an earthquake followed by a flood.

ANIMAL TALES: Cats are known for their homing instincts, so it’s not surprising that a snaggle-toothed kitty named Vinny reappeared at the rock on Ascot recently. Vinny had been pussyfooting around the neighborhood for weeks until folks called the Feral Cat Foundation. He was trapped by an animal rescue volunteer and taken to the bohemian enclave of Canyon, where he didn’t stay long before packing his knapsack and heading for the hills. Eleven days later he was back on Ascot, chasing mice and scrapping with his feline friends. Now he’s been trapped again, and taken to a new home in El Sobrante. It’s not Montclair, but hopefully Vinny will see the advantages of settling in the suburbs.

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